MOSCOW, March 18 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom shouldn't dilute its position in the Asia-Pacific by sending liquefied natural gas to Europe, the energy minister said.
Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller met last week with Chinese energy officials to discuss LNG from the Vladivostok project on Russia's eastern coast. Gazprom in 2007 adopted a program to get more natural gas to Chinese and other Asian markets.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Gazprom should remain focused on conventional natural gas deliveries to Europe so as to preserve its LNG position in the Asia-Pacific region.
"My position is that Russian LNG should not be supplied to the European market," he was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.
Gazprom supplies about 25 percent of the natural gas to Europe. The majority of that runs through a Soviet-era pipeline system in Ukraine. Gazprom has diversified its pipeline options with the Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea and aims to do the same with its southern European route, South Stream.
LNG, super-cooled natural gas, doesn't rely on pipelines, which may have geopolitical issues for consumers and suppliers alike.