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Russian ministry suggests special legal regime for int’l infrastructure projects

October 24, 2011, 19:09 UTC+3

Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said this suggestion has been made “amidst the implementation of the third energy package in EU member states”

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MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Energy Ministry has urged the European Commission to create a special legal regime for major international infrastructure projects involving gas transportation for the purpose of energy security.

Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said this suggestion has been made “amidst the implementation of the third energy package in EU member states”.

Russia is studying various options for defending the interests of Russian companies, including through international agreements between Russia and the European Union, and between Russia and EU member states.

Shmatko said on Monday, October 24, that “relations between Russia and the EU on this issue have exposed ideological differences”, and Russia’s proposals to create a new legal regime for trans-border projects have met no understanding in the European Union.

Earlier in the day, Shmatko admitted that talks between Russia and the EU on the terms of work under the third package of amendments concerning European energy legislation have come to a dead end.

He confirmed that Russia would honour all of its obligations under long-term contracts but would seek to move into the eastern market more actively.

In this situation, priority will be given to diversification of gas supplies. To this end, the Energy Ministry intends to actualise the Energy Concept, the general plan for the development of the gas industry and other documents determining the national energy policy.

Russia will look for new partners in the East, develop transport infrastructure and implement new projects such as construction of LNG plants.

The EU third energy package lays down a plan for liberalising the energy market in Europe. Approved by the European Parliament in April 2009, it does not allow companies that sell gas and electricity to own transportation networks because this pushes prices up.

These requirements were initiated by small traders that claimed that large energy concerns restricted their access to distribution networks. However France and Germany objected, while the other EU member states agreed to a compromise – networks and trading firms can belong to one owner but should operate under the supervision of an independent regulator.

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