Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft appoints Hudson Sandler for PR boost

Gazprom Neft, the oil producing arm of Russian energy giant Gazprom, has brought in City shop Hudson Sandler as part of plans to step up its international communications efforts.

Global focus: oil company Gazprom Neft
Global focus: oil company Gazprom Neft

The agency will have responsibility for coordinating Gazprom Neft's international corporate and financial communications from its London hub. Hudson Sandler picked up the global media relations brief after a ten-agency pitch that pitted it primarily against other London-based City rivals.

Hudson Sandler has an existing relationship with the firm, having been brought in on a project basis in July last year to advise Gazprom Neft on its online strategy for corporate comms.

The agency will start work on the account this week.

The appointment forms part of the company's attempts to expand its business internationally. It has already established itself as a top-five player in the Russian market. Gazprom Neft has outlined ambitious plans to become a global player, as well as a two million barrel per day producer by 2020.

Industry analysts suggest this expansion is likely to be underpinned by bidding for international oil exploration licences and a number of strategic acquisitions. These assets and licences are likely to focus around the Middle East, North Africa and South America.

Press reports have linked the firm with plans to sell off its oilfield service units or possibly float the assets via an initial public offering as part of its strategy to double its output in the next decade.

It is thought that communications centred around capital markets and mergers and acquisitions activity falls under the remit of Hudson Sandler's brief.

The Hudson Sandler team will be led by Andrew Hayes CEO, with Maria Ignatova (head of CIS) and Claire Barry (head of corporate communications).

Hayes commented: ‘This further addition to our CIS practice is testament to our team. We look forward to working closely with Gazprom Neft as it builds its presence outside Russia.'

Gazprom Neft was created under the name Sibneft before Gazprom brought a majority stake in the firm in 2005. Last month, it revealed it had survived the recession in robust health, doubling its first-quarter net profit underpinned by stronger oil prices.

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