MOSCOW, March 2 (UPI) -- With natural gas needs on the rise, the British government may consider joining the Nord Stream pipeline, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.
Energy statistics for 2010, released last month by the British government, indicated a general decline in production levels. Putin suggested this meant London should consider a role on Nord Stream.
"The U.K. may join the Nord Stream project because it's gradually becoming a gas importer," he was quoted by Voice of Russia as saying.
The British Department of Energy and Climate Change said the country remained a net exporter of petroleum products in 2011 but domestic natural gas production was down 20 percent compared to 2010 levels.
Russia aims to diversify its European transit options through Nord Stream. The dual pipeline runs from the shores of the Gulf of Finland through the Baltic Sea to Germany.
Both lines, once fully operational this year, will transport around 1.9 trillion cubic feet of Russian gas each year to European consumers for at least 50 years.
Putin didn't elaborate on the British role in Nord Stream other than to say negotiations have started.