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Putin: Russia ready for ‘fair’ energy deals with Asia

Russian President Vladimir Putin.jpg

"As a major supplier of energy to world markets, Russia is open to cooperation in this sphere," Putin said in a column in Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Hanoi.

"We are going to propose and implement a number of specific infrastructural projects, specifically, the construction of oil and gas pipelines to supply Asia and the Pacific with hydrocarbons from eastern Russia," Putin wrote.

But he added: "We are convinced that the terms should be beneficial for all partners."

"They should rest on the mutual responsibility of energy producers and consumers, a fair distribution of risks between them and an exchange of assets in the energy sector."

Russia, enjoying a windfall from recent high oil prices, has taken an increasingly hard-nosed approach to foreign investors and aroused suspicions it is using energy supply as a diplomatic card.

The Russian government in September threatened to cancel the 20-billion-dollar Sakhalin oil and gas project, for which resource-poor Japan would be a major market.

Russia alleged the project violated environmental regulations but foreign companies suspected Moscow may be trying to hand over at least part of the project to domestic firms.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is due to meet Putin in Hanoi, warned before taking office in September that scrapping the deal would hurt relations

British oil giant Shell holds a 55-percent stake in the Sakhalin project, while Japanese firms Mitsui and Mitsubishi hold 25 percent and 20 percent respectively.

Separately, Russia briefly cut off gas supply to Ukraine earlier this year amid political disputes, disrupting service across Europe.

© AFP


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