"The rating is necessary in order to approve a lower rate for these loans, for formal reasons," Tachennikov explained, noting China's interest in Gazprom's Siberian projects, including 'Altai' and 'The Power of Siberia' pipelines. "[The Chinese] are interested in seeing Gazprom takes loans from them in order to be in control of the situation and to ensure that this project is completed," the expert noted.
Tachennikov added that while "Gazprom does not face any problems with liquidity at the moment, the prerequisites for improving the rating don't exist either. Oil prices have fallen, and gas prices are tied to them. In the coming year there will be little reason to say that Gazprom has a higher creditworthiness than say, six months ago."
The expert explained that Gazprom's traditional lenders have become more difficult to access as a result of US and European sanctions against Russia. "It is becoming more and more difficult for Gazprom to make large loans lately. Formally, the company does not fall under the restrictions of the sanctions list, but nevertheless, it cannot take large syndicated loans. The only place where it can take large credits is in China," Tachennikov explained.
Gazprom responded by noting that "obtaining a credit rating from Dagong will further expand the base of investors from the Asia-Pacific region in debt instruments of Gazprom, including pension funds, insurance companies, investment funds and banks, as well as increasing the loyalty of Asian investors in the company."