Media reports suggest UK energy major Centrica, parent of British Gas, is in early stage talks to seal a long term gas supply deal with Russia's Gazprom, although it denies that any deeper alliance is likely.

It remains unclear how far talks between Gazprom and Centrica have progressed, with the AFX news agency reporting that the UK utility is in preliminary talks over a gas supply deal commencing in 2010. However the Financial Times newspaper suggests that a deal is not close, despite hints from senior Centrica executive Jake Ulrich at a recent conference to that effect.

We are having conversations with [Gazprom] from time to time about a potential gas supply deal but we have done no deal, the newspaper quoted a Centrica spokesperson as saying.

Gazprom has been linked a full-scale acquisition of Centrica in recent months, however the signals from both parties suggest that this is an unlikely eventuality.