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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Gazprom's Baa1 ratings; stable outlook

21 Nov 2013

Baseline credit assessment repositioned to baa1

London, 21 November 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed the Baa1/P-2 senior unsecured issuer rating of OJSC Gazprom (Gazprom) as well as the Baa1/(P)Baal and P-2 ratings of its guaranteed subsidiaries. Concurrently, Moody's has raised Gazprom's baseline credit assessment (BCA), a measure of the company's standalone credit quality, to baa1 from baa3. The 'high' implied state support and 'high' dependence assumptions for Gazprom, based on Moody's assessment of the company as a government-related issuer (GRI), remain unchanged. The outlook on all ratings remains stable.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Today's affirmation of Gazprom's Baa1 rating and repositioning of the BCA reflect Moody's view that the company has demonstrated a strong track record of maintaining a solid financial profile throughout the economic cycle. The repositioning of the BCA also reflects that Gazprom has reduced its exposure to contingent calls on its cash flows to support the government's undertakings, stemming from the company's status as a major Russian gas producer and contributor to the sovereign's wealth. Moody's positively notes the Russian government's efforts to achieve greater transparency around its energy strategy, a more consistent approach to regulatory decisions in the oil and gas sector, and a more sustainable and unified dividend policy for state-owned companies. These factors help reduce Moody's long-term concerns over Gazprom's potential role as a strategic tool in implementing the government's policies.

Gazprom's credit profile is supported by (1) the scale of its reserves and production; (2) ownership of the country's gas transportation and storage infrastructure; (3) monopoly rights for Russian gas exports; and (4) strong financial profile and liquidity. Gazprom's operating results in 2013 were underpinned by the favourable dynamics of the company's natural gas sales to western Europe. Moody's notes that Gazprom has demonstrated an unbroken track record of debt service, even during times of sovereign default.

The repositioning of Gazprom's BCA has no impact on the company's Baa1 senior unsecured rating as this rating is already at the same level as that of the Government of Russia.

RATIONALE FOR STABLE OUTLOOK

The stable outlook on Gazprom's ratings reflects Moody's expectation that the company will (1) adhere to prudent financial policies; and (2) maintain its solid operating and financial position. Given the close alignment of the company's and the government's ratings, and strong linkages between the two, Gazprom's ratings remain sensitive to changes in sovereign credit quality.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP/DOWN

Currently, Moody's views Russia's weaker institutional strength assessment as a constraint on the sovereign rating (Baa1 stable), and an impediment to rating Gazprom above the sovereign's current rating level. A one-notch upgrade of the sovereign rating could trigger a respective upgrade of the company's final ratings, subject to no changes in other GRI assumptions.

A weakening of Gazprom's financial profile, with retained cash flow (RCF)/net adjusted debt consistently below 30%, could result in a lowering of the company's BCA. However, this would not necessarily result in a downgrade of Gazprom's ratings, assuming other GRI inputs were unchanged. Other factors that could lead to a rating downgrade include (1) evidence of reduced support for Gazprom from the state; (2) the development of significant competition, which could ultimately undermine the company's strategic importance to the Russian economy; or (3) measures taken by the state that would significantly impair Gazprom's credit quality.

A one-notch downgrade of Russia's sovereign rating from the current rating of Baa1 would result in one-notch downgrade of Gazprom's debt and issuer ratings, assuming that levels of support and dependence were unchanged.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in this rating was the Global Integrated Oil & Gas Industry rating methodology, published in November 2009. Other methodologies used the Government-Related Issuers: Methodology Update, published in July 2010. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

Headquartered in Moscow, Russia, Gazprom is one of the world's largest integrated oil and gas companies and is focused on the exploration, production and refining of gas and of oil (via its subsidiary Gazprom Neft JSC (Baa2 stable)), as well as the transportation and distribution of Russian gas to domestic, former Soviet Union (FSU) and European markets. Gazprom also owns and operates the Unified Gas Supply System (UGSS) in Russia, which is the world's largest gas transportation, storage and processing system, comprising nearly 168,300 kilometres of high-pressure trunk pipelines and 25 underground gas storage facilities, and is the leading exporter of gas to western Europe. In 2012, Gazprom generated sales of approximately $153.6 billion and EBITDA of $56.1 billion (adjusted).

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Julia Pribytkova
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Limited, Russian Branch
7th floor, Four Winds Plaza
21 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St.
Moscow 125047
Russia
Telephone: +7 495 228 6060
Facsimile: +7 495 228 6091

David Staples
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
Telephone: 00971 4237 9536

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Moody's affirms Gazprom's Baa1 ratings; stable outlook
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