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Gazprom warns EU over Middle East oil

Feb. 22, 2011 at 7:45 AM

MOSCOW, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The European community needs to take another look at its relationship with Middle East energy suppliers as unrest pushes prices up, Gazprom said.

Political turmoil in the Middle East pushed oil prices higher amid concerns that key shipping lanes in Egypt would be closed and affect crude supplies. Crude oil prices pushed into new post-recession territory as Libya became the latest country to experience widespread unrest.

Alexei Miller, chief executive officer at Russian energy company Gazprom, said that with oil prices hovering near $106 per barrel, it's time for Europe to examine reliability, The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London reports.

"As far as the Middle East and North Africa is concerned, we need to reconsider the question of reliability and stability of hydrocarbons," he was quoted as saying.

Gazprom's dominance in the European energy sector is threatened by supplies from the Middle East and Central Asia as well as new gas markets surfacing in the United States.

Gazprom has joined the exodus from Libya by pulling some staff members out of the country because of safety concerns.

"I think the question of reliability and stability and safety of supplies from there should be analyzed and considered much more importantly than they were before these events," added Miller.

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