EU energy minister courting Russia?

Nov. 3, 2010 at 8:06 AM
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MOSCOW, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- The Nord Stream and South Stream natural gas pipelines could find significance in a European energy strategy, a Russian energy minister said.

Russian energy company Gazprom is moving ahead with its Nord Stream and South Stream natural gas pipelines for Europe.

Spats with Ukraine, which is a transit site for the bulk of Russian gas bound for Europe, exposed vulnerabilities in the regional energy sector, prompting a push for transit diversification.

Nord Stream is under construction in the Baltic Sea while Moscow is courting European allies to host the South Stream project through southern Europe.

Igor Sechin, the Russian deputy prime minister and top energy official, said he urged the European community to consider the gas pipelines as strategic projects for the European community, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.

He was speaking after a meeting with Guenther Oettinger, the European energy commissioner. Oettinger said Russia could take part in drafting Europe's energy strategy.

"Oettinger proposed considerably expanding cooperation as part of the energy dialogue and invited Russian specialists to join the development of the European Union's long-term energy strategy," a spokesman for Sechin was quoted as saying.

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