BRUSSELS, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Moscow will consider expert opinions before deciding if new European Union energy rules unfairly target its natural gas monopoly, Russia's energy chief said.
"We are interested in active consultations with our European colleagues on new energy initiatives," Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said Tuesday after talks with EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs in Brussels.
"We agree on one objective -- that we want to ensure security of supply and predictability, which will allow for sustainable development."
The European Commission provoked anger in Moscow recently when it proposed rules requiring foreign companies involved in EU gas and electricity markets to follow free-market principles and join European businesses in separating their production operations from transmission channels.
The measure would end individual deals Moscow's JSC Gazprom struck in Eastern and Western Europe to partially own gas pipelines or storage hubs while also supplying gas through its pipelines.
The commission also proposed that non-EU companies may not expand through the 27-nation energy market without limit and that they must give EU companies reciprocal access to their markets, the EUobserver news service reported.
Asked about reciprocity, Khristenko said he hoped the proposed rules would not "in any way" impede Gazprom's joint projects with other nations.