Britain prepares to temporarily nationalise Gazprom retail unit -Bloomberg News

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A 3D printed natural gas pipeline is placed in front of displayed Gazprom logo and Russian flag in this illustration taken February 8, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/

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March 21 (Reuters) - The UK government is preparing to step in and temporarily run Russian gas giant Gazprom's British retail supply arm, Bloomberg News reported on Monday, as companies cut ties with Russian businesses.

Officials are closely monitoring the situation at Gazprom Marketing & Trading Retail Ltd, whose ultimate parent is Russian state-run Gazprom, Bloomberg reported.

The unit, operating as Gazprom Energy, supplies just over a fifth of Britain's commercial gas volume and serves thousands of customers including the National Health Service.

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The company is a prime candidate to be taken into the UK's special administration regime if it fails, to ensure continuity of supply, the report said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

A government spokesperson said: "We are aware that Gazprom Energy has a large presence in the non-domestic energy retail market."

"Gazprom's retail business continues to trade in the UK and customers should exercise their own commercial judgement with regards to energy supply contracts they have in place at the moment."

The government added that Britain was in no way dependent on Russian gas, which made up less than 4% of its supply.

Gazprom Energy did not respond to emails from Reuters seeking comment.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reported that Gazprom Energy has been trying to find a buyer to stave off collapse as many big clients seek to exit multi-million pound contracts in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru and William Schomberg and Paul Sandle in London; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Jan Harvey

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