ST. PETERSBURG, May 25. /TASS/. Russia will welcome new participants from Europe joining the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project, President Vladimir Putin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
"France’s Engie company participates in Nord Stream 2, we will also welcome new participants, including Total. We can add other European companies to the list," he said.
According to Putin, the resistance against the project "comes from competition considerations as our US partners are ready to supply (gas) to Europe." "Geopolitical considerations are also present here, particularly regarding transit through Ukraine. We have no plans to suspend transit via Ukraine if it is economically viable, we are ready for such talks with our Ukrainian partners," President said.
Speaking about the necessity to implement Nord Stream 2, Putin mentioned falling gas production in Europe, including Netherlands and Britain. "Those falling volumes of European producers should be replenished. Russia’s pipeline gas is the most economically viable option for replenishment, and we are ready to continue discussions with partners regarding the issue," he noted.
Exports of Russian gas to Europe sooner or later will be liberalized, the president said.
Putin added that today five European companies participate in the Nord Stream 2 project. "If Total becomes the sixth company - this means direct participation in transporting gas from Russia," he said.
"Of course, we will think about liberalization of gas supplies via pipelines to Europe," Putin said. "We can indeed talk about this, we can discuss it. Sooner or later it will be done in an absolutely liberal regime," he added.