Russia “will maintain contacts with all European partners” and “is not going to leave the European energy market,” said Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in is interview to German Handelsblatt newspaper.
When speaking about the EU’s desire to diversify energy carriers’ import and reduce Russia’s dependence in this field, he said: “We have heard these kind of statements many times. However, in the near future Europe will not be able to do without Russia gas.”
He added that deliveries of shale gas from the US will not be able to reduce dependence. “We do not take this competition seriously,” Novak said.
As far as the gas deal between Russia and China is concerned, he said: “There is no either – or principle. We have enough gas resources to supply gas to Europe and Asia.”
When it comes to the relationships between Russia and Ukraine in the gas industry, Novak said Russia would like to see Ukraine’s readiness to pay its overdue gas debts and only in this case it may consider providing Ukraine discounts in the future.
“Russia is interested in Ukraine’s remaining solvent, so it will be able to compensate the gas debts. We want Ukraine to pay off the debts. This ois over $2.2 billion for the deliveries in quarter 1, 2014, which were based on the low prices. If Ukraine demonstrates the readiness to pay, we will talk about the discounts. This would become our contribution into the economic recovery of Ukraine.”