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Monday, January 16, 2006

Gazprom head promises Germany reliable gas supplies

BERLIN/MOSCOW, January 13 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Friday that the Russian energy giant would ensure reliable natural gas supplies to Germany. "Germany is the largest consumer of Russian [natural] gas in Europe," Miller told German Minister for Economics and Technology Michael Glos. "Gazprom has always complied with its contract commitments. We highly value cooperation with our German partners, which allows us to discuss new projects and new cooperation aims." Speaking about Gazprom's guarantees in case of possible difficulties with transporting gas across third-party countries to Germany, Miller said Russia would try to reduce transit risks. The construction of the North European Gas Pipeline was key to that aim, he said. "Its construction is proceeding as planned and in 2010 Russian gas will go directly to Germany," he said. The pipeline is to run under the Baltic Sea directly to landfall in Germany, bypassing the land-based pipelines that run across Ukraine. Transportation across Ukraine has become a hot topic for European energy officials since the country's gas price dispute with Russia led to Russia shutting down supplies to its neighbor for a few days at the start of this month. The move led to a drop in supplies to some European countries. The German Ministry for Economics and Technology told RIA Novosti that Glos "was satisfied with Miller's information about the settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian [natural] gas dispute." According to the German ministry, the country receives 36% (40 billion cu m per year) of natural gas from Russia. Some 30% of its gas comes via Ukraine.

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