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Friday, October 26, 2007

Restrictions on gas pipeline access may be lifted in 2008

MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) - Regulations on non-discriminatory gas pipeline access could be adopted in January 2008, if the Federal Antimonopoly Service reaches terms with energy giant Gazprom, FAS head said Friday. Igor Artemyev said the FAS proposed that after Gazprom has met its domestic and foreign gas supply obligations, independent producers should be granted equal access to the pipeline on a competitive basis. "The decision could be made in 2008, ... if Gazprom meets us halfway," Artemyev told the press adding that the gas monopoly has not yet agreed to the proposal. Artemyev said Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov told the FAS on Wednesday to coordinate the proposal with the relevant departments, and that a special conference headed by Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov could be held later this month. The Federal Antimonopoly Service could also respond to applications filed by two companies BasEl, owned by Kremlin-friendly tycoon Oleg Deripaska, and Swiss Glencore to buy the RussNeft oil company later this year, Artemyev said. RussNeft owns 30 oil producing companies, three oil refineries, two transport companies and a network of 300 gas filling stations. BasEl announced plans to buy RussNeft in mid-summer, and the FAS decided in early October to postpone its decision on the application for 60 days. Glencore submitted its application to the FAS for the acquisition of three RussNeft oil producing subsidiaries on September 11.
As the western companies already have to "open" their pipelines, it seems a good thing that Gazprom has to do it too. Some agreements are still existing with foreign countries, as Belarus. "the agreement between Russia and Belarus shows that Russia’s gas giant Gazprom is moving towards global market principles in the energy sector. Garase has also added that the gas transportation agreement between the two countries will strengthen and further boost Russia’s gas supplies to Europe". In such an agreement, there may be something about pipelines and the possibilities for other companies to use it ?  
It's not "Garase" who says that, but Garese, Alexandre Garese, a lawyer, specialized in Russia ;-). More here :  
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