Wednesday, April 3, 2013

From Russia with love: Why Britain is turning to Russia for natural gas imports

In a move that seemingly cemented the burgeoning energy partnership among European countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and British Foreign Secretary William Hague finally met to discuss the possibilities of natural gas export expansion. Russia, with its Nord Stream pipeline, has been considered to be an increasingly “vital energy partner” to Europe at large.

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“I am aware that Russia is interested in exporting more gas to the U.K.,” Hague said in an interview. “I hope that this is something our respective energy ministers might explore further together.”

The twin Nord Stream pipelines, which first commenced operation in 2011, was designed to carry about 1.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It is currently running from Russia’s eastern ports through the Baltic Sea to Germany.

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Because of its possible benefits to the natural gas sector, Britain has since been considering linking the pipelines to many British ports. However, because the move is mainly backed by British energy company BP, Hague emphasized that considerations for the pipeline were primarily business matters and should be given more attention by concerned institutions.

"Any contract for gas supply would be a commercial matter and would have to comply with relevant EU as well [as] U.K. regulatory requirements," Hague stressed.

Hague also acknowledged the growing need for Europe to develop its own gas and oil fields, and suggested that to do so, partnering with international energy companies must first be established.

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