LONDON—Gazprom has stopped working with Ketchum in the US, although the relationship continues in Europe and Asia, where the Russian energy giant is focusing its efforts.
The New York Times reported yesterday that Ketchum's deal to represent the state-controlled company has ended.
However, the Holmes Report understands that the European relationship — which has been in place since 2006 and included sub-contract work with Omnicom firm Gplus — continues.
In addition, it is believed that Ketchum's work with Gazprom in Asia is expanding, following the signing of a $400bn gas deal between China and Russia earlier this year.
The end of the US assignment comes amid US sanctions against Gazprom financial institution Gazprombank and other Russian companies. The sanctions follow the onset of the Ukraine crisis earlier this year but, so far, have not targeted Gazprom's energy operations.
Gazprom, which is the world's biggest natural gas producer, ships about half of its exports across Ukraine to Europe.
Amid the escalating conflict, the New York Times believes that Ketchum is "walking an increasingly fine line" by representing the Russian government, as it has done since 2006.
In an interview with the NYT, Ketchum partner Kathy Jeavons reiterated the firm's stance that its work focuses primarily on economic development and inward investment in Russia, rather than foreign and domestic policy.
Ketchum has earned more than $25m from its Russia relationship since 2006, retaining the business following a review in 2012.
As part of the assignment, Ketchum runs the Modern Russia website, which aims to showcase the country's appeal as an investment destination.
That positioning has proven difficult to maintain in the current environment. Jeavons told the NYT that around 10 people are now working on the Russia account, down from as many as 35 at its peak.