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Itar-Tass: Russia to remain reliable energy partner for Europe – Kremlin

21.10.2006, 00.05 
 
LAHTI, Finland, October 21 (Itar-Tass) – Russia will always remain Europe’s reliable partner in the field of energy resources, and a decision by OAO Gazprom, the major Russian producer of natural gas, to redirect exports of gas from the Shtokmanovsky offshore deposit to Europe provides a crucial confirmation that Russia will guarantee supplies of fuel to its neighbors, the Kremlin press service said.

It circulated a special statement at an informal Russia-EU summit in the Finnish town of Lahti.

“Russia approves of the general principles of Europe’s Energy Charter and is ready to ratify it if the sides manage to eliminate existing contraditions at talks on a Transit Protocol to the document,” the statement said.

“Russia abides by the principle of mutual liberalization and welcomes foreign investment in key companies, including Gazprom, Rosneft and LUKOIL, but mutual openness should be a universal principle and Russia has every right to expect that its own openness to the world will be reflected in European countries, too, and that European markets will be opened to Russian companies in response.

“Russia would like to export natural gas at market prices and maintains close contact with its neighbors to reach agreements on a gradual changeover to the prices reflecting the actual costs of energy.

“The Russian side does not support the idea of subsidizing energy for industrial needs, as such subsidies might hamper development of an up-to-date energy-effective economy.

“Russia welcomes foreign investment and fully observes production-sharing agreements signed in the 1990’s, which empower Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, Totale and other foreign corporations to exploit Russian oil and gas resources.

“In the meantime, Russian government as the government of any other country has an obligation to keep balance between the interests of business and ecology and cannot ignore encroachments on ecological norms.

“The current ecological inspections are not discriminatory and are part of general inspecting that Russian companies undergo in an absolutely equal measure,” the statement says.

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