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Reuters: Dutch firms eye Russian gas in Yamal region

Tue Nov 6, 2007 7:00pm GMT 

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Dutch firms are looking for more gas exploration opportunities in Russia, the world’s biggest gas producer, a Dutch minister of foreign trade told reporters on Tuesday.

“Dutch companies are looking at possibilities to explore gas fields in Yamal… it’s very cold, it’s very difficult, but there’s a lot of gas,” Frank Heemskerk said on the sidelines of a state visit by Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende to Moscow.

Yamal, in the northwest of Siberia, holds potential gas reserves of 50 trillion cubic meters, the largest in Russia, and is being developed by Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom.

Heemskerk declined to name which companies are interested in Yamal, but said any potential project would be independent, and will not involve Gazprom or state-controlled oil major Rosneft.

Royal Dutch Shell, which has a significant presence in Russia, also attended the state visit as part of a Dutch business delegation, but would not comment on specific details of its discussions with president Vladimir Putin, which took place on Tuesday.

“One of the topics to be discussed (between Russia and the Dutch) is the enhancement of exploration and exports of Russian energy resources and the possible contribution therein of Dutch companies,” Shell’s spokesman in Moscow, Maxim Shub, said.

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