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Monday, June 22, 2009

Russia, Netherlands Discuss ‘Serious’ Energy Plans

June 20, 2009 (Bloomberg by Lyubov Pronina and Torrey Clark) -- Russia and the Netherlands have “serious plans” to extend energy projects and “enhance” European fuel security as Royal Dutch Shell Plc seeks a role in the gas-rich Yamal region, President Dmitry Medvedev said. “We can advance on Yamal projects,” Medvedev told reporters today in Amsterdam, after meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. Medvedev also met with Shell Chief Executive Officer Jeroen van der Veer, praising the company’s Sakhalin-2 project with OAO Gazprom for producing Russia’s first liquefied natural gas this year. Russia expects 20 percent of its natural-gas output to come from the Arctic Yamal Peninsula and the surrounding Kara Sea by 2020, Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said after meeting Van der Veer yesterday. Gazprom may work with Shell to build an LNG plant in Yamal, Chief Executive Alexei Miller said earlier this year. LNG is natural gas cooled to a liquid for shipment by tanker to markets unreachable by pipeline. Medvedev called Dutch support for Gazprom’s Nord Stream gas pipeline, which will link Russia link directly to Germany, “a positive example” of cooperation with European partners “without any fear.” Nord Stream: Gasunie, the Dutch state-owned gas distribution company, holds 9 percent in the Nord Stream AG venture that aims to bring the pipeline online in 2011. Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural gas supplier, has said Nord Stream will boost European energy security after price disputes with transit country Ukraine disrupted deliveries three times since the start of 2006. European leaders have argued for diversifying supplies away from Russia. “We can do more,” Balkenende said today. Dutch companies want to extend cooperation with Russia in biotechnology, IT and telecommunications, as well as energy projects. The Netherlands was Russia’s second-largest trading partner last year, with a total volume of about $62 billion, while Dutch investment in Russia reached $45.2 billion, or 18 percent of total foreign investment, the Kremlin said yesterday. During the first day of Medvedev’s visit to Amsterdam yesterday, OAO Lukoil, the Russian oil producer with the most international assets, announced an agreement to buy 45 percent of Dutch refinery TRN from France’s Total SA for about $725 million.

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