MOSCOW, November 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Industrial and Energy Minister Victor Khristenko and Joan McNorton, Director General for Energy at the British Trade and Industry Ministry, have discussed matters of international cooperation in the field of energy, the ministerial communique says.

"The ministers have touched upon the mechanisms of efficient realisation of the Russian-European energy dialogue, cooperation in the gas sphere and prospects for the Kyoto Protocol", the communique reads.

In the opinion of Mrs.McNorton Russian-British cooperation in the energy sphere acquires a special importance in the light of Britain's upcoming chairmanship in the European Union and the G8. It is very important not to lose momentum in the energy dialogue, she noted.

The sides have also discussed prospects for establishing the permanent council for Russia-EU cooperation. In the opinion of Khristenko, this idea "is still topical" because Russia "is in need of a direct dialogue with the heads of European energy departments".

According to Khristenko, one of the most promising elements of Russian-European cooperation is synchronisation of the Russian and the EU energy grids. Besides, Khristenko and McNorton have discussed the world fuel prices situation. The Russian minister said that "predictability on the market of energy carriers is crucial for Russia because only a predictable situation will enable our country to invest in big infrastructure projects with long terms of repayment".

The Russian minister told members of the British delegation of work done on the North European (Baltic) gas pipeline project. He noted that sums for preparation of the project have been provided for in the 2005 draft investment programme of OAO Gazprom.

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