Kremlin aide talks up Russia as reliable energy partner
BRUSSELS, April 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will try to show its partners in the G8 club of industrialized nations that it is a reliable supplier of energy resources at a summit in July, a presidential aide said Thursday.
Igor Shuvalov was keen to talk up the country's image following criticism of Russia earlier this year after natural gas supplies to European customers were affected in a spat over prices with Ukraine that led to energy giant Gazprom turning off the taps. The Russian company's ambitions in Europe have also raised concerns on the continent.
"Russia wants to show and prove that it is a most reliable supplier of oil and natural gas to world markets, particularly Europe," said Shuvalov, who is touring Europe as chairman of a commission on Russia's membership in the Group of Eight.
The aide highlighted Russia's choice of energy security as a priority during its presidency of the G8 this year and rejected claims that Russia had gas supplies to Europe in the dispute with Ukraine
Some European countries reported decline in gas supplies from Russia in early January but Moscow accused Ukraine of tapping gas en route to European markets.
The row fueled fears in Europe, and some countries have raised the need to diversify energy sources and reduce their dependency on imports from Russia.
Shuvalov said energy security meant both the security of supply, as well as demand.
"We do not want Europe to depend on energy resources supplies from Russia, nor do we want to have only one consumer for our energy resources," the presidential aide said.
Last week, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller warned European countries, some of whom fear the Russian energy giant wants to dominate the European gas market, that Gazprom was also working to enter markets in North America and China. Earlier this week, another senior Gazprom official, Alexander Medvedev, called Europe's reaction to the company's advance "hysterical."
Speaking in Paris on Wednesday, Shuvalov tried to dispel the fears, saying Gazprom should emerge as a global energy company, "forming partnerships with major oil and gas companies throughout the world."
The other two issues on Russia's G8 agenda are education and the fight against infectious diseases.
Shuvalov said the St. Petersburg summit would discuss new arrangements for monitoring infectious disease outbreaks across the world and creating international groups to fight pandemics, including by raising financial aid for the purpose.