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MOSCOW, March 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Saturday that he is opposed to liquefied natural gas supplies to Gazprom-dominated European market, citing Asia-Pacific as a priority market for LNG exports.
“My position is that Russian LNG should not be supplied to the European market” to avoid competition with Gazprom’s natural gas supplies, the minister said adding that Russia’s largest independent gas producer Novatek had recently discussed LNG supplies with Chinese, South Korean and Japanese partners.
Novak also said that he supported proposals to allow independent gas producers to develop LNG exports adding that they should be coordinated with Gazprom.
Under existing legislation, energy giant Gazprom has a monopoly on gas exports and other producer companies are obliged to sign export contracts with Gazprom structures. Russia’s oil giant Rosneft and Novatek have previously appealed to the government to consider ending Gazprom’s monopoly on LNG exports.
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News that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would resign in order to run for the mayoral election in September came as quite a shock. Sobyanin’s political potential is fairly dubious, not to mention his approval ratings. He has not finished many of the projects he initiated and the electoral effect from these projects is expected to come a bit later than September 2013. Sobyanin’s opponents were not entirely unprepared for this blitzkrieg.