EC and Russia form early warning system for energy dialogue

Oct 17, 2007 02:00 AM

The European Commission and Russia have agreed to form an early warning system under the energy dialogue, according to a joint report signed by Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko and European Commissioner for energy Andris Piebalgs in Brussels. The mechanism was formed to discuss problems of mutual investment in the energy sector and the division of production and transport assets of energy companies on the European market raised by the European Union.
Khristenko said the early warning mechanism is primarily an exchange of information and consultations on strategic matters such as new laws, new aspects of energy strategy, or significant changes in supply and demand in the context of a constant dialogue.

Piebalgs said the energy dialogue initiated by Russia and the EU in 2000 is progressing successfully. The semi-annual meeting that coincided with the EU-Russia summit showed mutual interest and enabled an open exchange of opinions, he said.
"The energy chain is very complex and all of its links are closely related," Khristenko said. "It is up to the partners to join them and determine the risks so there are no interruptions. So we want the consultation mechanism to begin working as quickly as possible," he said.

The current growth in oil prices will not keep Russia from meeting its obligations to European partners for gas supplies in the winter, he said.
"With the exception of certain risks that might arise in transit countries," he added, expressing hope this would not occur. "We have been making a considerable contribution to the security and stability of energy supplies to Europe for the past 42-43 years," he said. "During that time the configuration of the EU and the Soviet Union has changed. But all contracts we signed were fulfilled, are being fulfilled, and will continue to be fulfilled on schedule on the agreed terms," he said.

The diversification of fuel supplies was discussed at the meeting. Piebalgs said the plans for diversification would in now waybe aimed at reducing shipments from Russia.
"We respect Russia as a supplier," he said. "The EU receives about 25 % of its fuel from Russia but that does not mean we don't need other suppliers. We need as many sources as possible to sustain liquidity and reliability and that does not challenge Russia's role as a large and reliable supplier," he said.

Source: Interfax
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