Russia-EU controversy may make gas prices rise

May 11, 2006 02:00 AM

European energy consumers will face big rises in gas prices in the coming years because of acute shortages of the natural gas supply from Russia and growing tensions between the Russian government and EU, senior economists and a former Russian premier said.
Eric Bergloef, chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, said that Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom would struggle to offset declines in output, but demand from Europe and ex-Soviet Union countries would grow at 2-3 % a year.

He told the European Enterprise Institute that 70 % of production at Gazprom, the world's third-largest energy group, came from fields whose gas was running out, while the Russian energy sector needed a $ 700 bn investment over the next 20 years -- much of it from foreign interests so far denied access to the Russian pipeline network.

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