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Gazprom Plans Gas Field Talks With E.On

BERLIN -- Gazprom deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev will meet with officials from German utility E.On to discuss deadlocked talks on a gas field stake, Medvedev said in an interview published Friday.

The main issue they will discuss is Gazprom's agreement from last year to sell a stake of 25 percent minus one share in its Yuzhno-Russkoye gas field near Tomsk to E.On's Ruhrgas unit. Talks on the deal have been deadlocked.

E.On agreed to pay Gazprom 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) and to give it just under 50 percent of its Hungarian gas trading and storage units. E.On holds about 6.4 percent of Gazprom's stock.

"I will meet with the management of E.On Ruhrgas before this week is over," Medvedev said in an interview with SЯddeutsche Zeitung. "There is still hope that we can find agreement on the difficult issues."

Among the difficult issues is the fact that Gazprom is not entirely happy with Hungary's energy sector. "Unfortunately the situation in Hungary is not developing as expected. It is not just the price of the assets, but also the regulation of the Hungarian gas market and the role of other market participants," he said.

Medvedev said without elaborating that this was forcing Gazprom "to look for other solutions."Asked if Gazprom now wanted E.On to offer it something else, Medvedev said, "I don't want to name any specific assets."

Russia has been criticized for restricting access to its energy market. Medvedev dismissed this idea."It's absolutely untrue that foreign companies are barred from getting access to Russian resources," he said. "But there are rules for working in this market." One such rule, he said, is that with gas fields of "particularly strategic importance," Gazprom or another Russian state firm had to have a stake of at least 51 percent.


(The Moscow Times 03.ix.07)

 
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