Putin Promises Stable Gas Supplies to Europe, Says Ukraine Must Give Guarantees

GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- Speaking at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, President Vladimir Putin assured his European partners that Russia will do everything to ensure stable energy supplies. At the same time he stressed that a project to deliver Russian natural gas to Europe via Ukraine was only possible if Kiev gave clear guarantees that it would honor commitments.

Putin Speaking at G8 Summit

A member of the Russian delegation at the summit told the RIA Novosti agency that the issue of stable supplies of energy resources has been raised during a discussion which focused on economic development.

“The president said that Russia would do everything possible to ensure the stable development of the global economy,” the official said. He also added that Putin told the other G8 leaders about specific energy supply projects and stressed that Russia would make every effort to develop transport infrastructure to guarantee that the country’s partners received sufficient energy resources.

The Russian president informed his colleagues in detail about a project to build an “eastern” oil pipeline from East Siberia to the Pacific Ocean. He also told them about plans to construct an oil pipeline from Siberia to the White Sea, which will be used to supply the United States with oil, and the Baltic Pipeline System, which should supply Europe and the U.S. with oil. The delegation member said that Putin had told the G8 that Russia planned to increase its supplies of natural gas to 40 billion cubic meters by 2010.

Speaking of the current deliveries of natural gas to Europe, Putin said that the deliveries of gas via Ukraine were possible only if Kiev gave clear guarantees that it would honor its commitments. “The president said Ukraine was hard to deal with at the moment,” the agency source said. “There is a tri-party project involving Germany, but the relevant agreement with Ukraine has not been signed yet.”

Putin said further work on the project would only be possible if Ukraine gave clear guarantees. Ukraine has demanded that a natural gas consortium established by the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, and the German chancellor in 2002, be closed down. Simultaneously, it is holding talks with Turkmenistan, a major gas producer in Central Asia, on direct supplies of Turkmen gas and the construction of a gas pipeline to bypass Russia. The gas consortium, which planned to build a natural gas pipeline from Bogorodchany to Uzhgorod, on Ukraine’s western border, would allow Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom to control gas deliveries through Ukraine’s pipeline network.

Since President Viktor Yushchenko and his team came to power in the wake of the “orange revolution” in winter 2004, Ukraine has been trying to reduce its dependence on Russia’s energy resources. The latest move by Naftogaz Ukraine, the country’s national gas company, was to warn Gazprom that it may halt deliveries of Russian gas to European customers if Ukraine does not receive enough gas for its own needs.

Source: MosNews

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