TEHRAN, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has invited Iran to sell crude oil on the St. Petersburg Commodity Exchange, the Russian energy minister said on Monday.
"The Russian side has proposed that our Iranian partners consider the possibility of selling a part of Iran's oil at the St. Petersburg Commodity Exchange," Sergei Shmatko said.
Shmatko, who is the Russian co-chairman of a bilateral intergovernmental trade and economic commission, said the proposal was important in a situation where oil producing countries "are diversifying their trade infrastructure on the world oil market."
An Iranian source close to the negotiations told a RIA Novosti correspondent that Tehran "will closely study" the Russian proposal.
Shmatko also said Russia saw great potential in gas cooperation with Iran, specifically in facilitating Iranian gas exports to Europe.
"We believe that there are very good, fundamental prospects for Russia's close cooperation with Iran on Iran's natural gas supplies to Europe," he said.
He added that Russia had extensive experience operating on the European gas market and had strong positions in the region.
The St. Petersburg Commodity Exchange was founded by a number of oil and transport companies and large banks.
The exchange conducted its first trading session in September 2008, when a small amount of aviation and diesel fuel was sold. Full-scale trading was to have started in early 2009, but has yet to begin.