MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. The European Union and Gazprom will be able to come to terms as new gas projects meet Europe’s interests, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with three Russian radio stations on Wednesday.
The Russian foreign minister replied to a question about how he perceived the future relations between the EU and Gazprom.
The European Commission is currently holding an anti-trust probe into Gazprom’s operations on the EU’s gas market.
"We’re participating in the defense of Gazprom’s interests and actively advancing our arguments," the minister said.
"The argument is simple: all the contracts, which Gazprom signed with its partners, were concluded in full compliance with the legal regime that existed in the EU at that time. When the Third Energy Package was adopted in the European Union, attempts were made to apply these requirements retroactively to the old contracts as well. This is absolutely inadmissible," the Russian foreign minister said.
Lavrov said he was confident that agreement between the EU and Gazprom would be reached.
"I’m confident that new projects that are being discussed, first of all, the so-called Turkish Stream project, are in Europe’s interests," the Russian foreign minister said.
Gazprom is extremely important for Europe but there is a problem with the company’s certain commercial practices, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said on Wednesday.
"Gazprom is a large, highly professional company, which is extremely important for Europe. The European Commission does not have a problem with Gazprom as a company but the European Commission has a problem with some of its commercial practices on the European gas market. They should be discussed," she said.
The Russian energy giant produces, transports and sells natural gas to European consumers while the EU’s Third Energy Package requires the separation of gas production, transportation and sale to prevent gas suppliers from dominating the infrastructure.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on December 1 the project to build the South Stream gas pipeline was closed due to the European Union’s unconstructive approach to cooperation in that sphere, including Bulgaria’s decision to stop the construction of the pipeline’s stretch on its territory.
Instead, Russia will build a gas pipeline to Turkey where a gas hub on the border with Europe will be created, Putin said.
The Turkish Stream gas pipeline will have a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters, of which 50 billion cubic meters will be supplied to a new gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border.
The Turkish Stream gas pipeline will run 660 km (410 miles) along the old corridor of the South Stream project abandoned by Russia and 250 km (155 miles) in the new corridor towards Turkey’s European part.