MOSCOW, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Moscow is interested in expanding its energy relationship with states, including Iran, bordering the Caspian Sea, the Russian energy minister said.
Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said recent talks with his Iranian counterparts focused on "very interesting" ways to expand bilateral work in the oil and natural gas sector.
"We believe that infrastructural development in the Caspian region, including transportation of hydrocarbon substances, is related to each and every one of the Caspian Sea littoral states," he was quoted by Iran's Fars News Agency as saying.
Caspian states like Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran have some of the richest natural gas deposits in the world. The region is emerging as a vital energy hub, with European consumers focusing their efforts there as a source of supplies for a network of pipelines in the so-called Southern Corridor.
Shmatko's focus on infrastructure follows the official launch of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran, a first for the region.
Russia under a bilateral agreement with Iran operates and supplies fuel for the Bushehr plant. The first unit at Bushehr has the capacity to generate 1,000 megawatts of power. It was connected to the grid during the weekend.