Gazprom, EU can meet halfway

Feb. 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

MOSCOW, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- There are issues on which the European Union and Gazprom can work together despite their differences, an export official at the Russian gas company said.

A measure under consideration by the European Union calls for the separation of natural gas sales and the transportation sector. It also calls for third parties to have access to gas transit facilities in the region.

Gazprom officials said the measure doesn't make sense because it will keep investors away from transit infrastructure. Sergei Komlev, a top contract official at Gazprom, said there were still plenty of ways to work with the European Union, however.

Komlev said that while European and Gazprom objectives don't "fully coincide" there "some provisions" under consideration by the EU that could be mutually beneficial, he was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

Gazprom meets about 25 percent of Europe's natural gas demands. As much of 80 percent of that gas heads through Soviet-era pipelines through Ukraine.

Europe aims to diversify its energy sector through a series of pipelines dubbed the Southern Corridor. Moscow, meanwhile, wants to expand its export options through the South Stream and Nord Stream gas pipelines.

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