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Putin envisions common Eurasian energy market

Kazakhstan, a major regional oil player, hosting an annual economic summit.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Russian President Vladimir Putin to outline vision for common energy market during a regional economic summit hosted by Kazakhstan Photo by David Silpa/UPI
Russian President Vladimir Putin to outline vision for common energy market during a regional economic summit hosted by Kazakhstan Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

ASTANA, Kazakhstan, May 31 (UPI) -- A common market for oil and gas will be on the agenda for the Russian president during talks before a regional summit in Kazakhstan, the Kremlin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Kazakh counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev, in Astana during the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Astana.

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According to the Kremlin's press office, Putin will roll oil and natural gas into a broad agenda for a multilateral trade plan that includes deep integration in the form of a common energy market. Yuri Uhsakov, a presidential aide, said a common oil and gas mark could come into force by 2025.

Under the European Union's scheme, a common energy market ensures secure and reliable sources of energy at the same that prices are controlled by a market that offers consumers choice. Russian energy company Gazprom has been accused of violating this principle because it controls both the transit mechanisms and the reserves themselves.

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Russia in 2014 requested the World Trade Organization weigh in on European energy directives, arguing in part that some countries may have different needs according to their levels of development.

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With more than 182 million customers, the Eurasian Economic Union, of which Russia and Kazakhstan are members, is the largest trade group of its kind and functions strictly according to WTO norms, the Kremlin said.

"And we're ready to abide by these norms and principles in the future, too," Putin's aide said.

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Russia's energy focus has moved toward the east as the regional economies outpace those in Europe. Kazakhstan, for its part, hosts the Kashagan oil field its territorial waters of the Caspian Sea. With an estimated 16 billion barrels of oil in reserves, Kashagan is considered the largest complex of its kind in the world.

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