Belgium against Gazprom investment in gas depot

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Belgium's energy regulator, CREG, is opposed to plans by national company Fluxys and the Russian energy giant Gazprom to build a gas storage facility in the country, local media reported Tuesday.
BRUSSELS, August 14 (RIA Novosti) - Belgium's energy regulator, CREG, is opposed to plans by national company Fluxys and the Russian energy giant Gazprom to build a gas storage facility in the country, local media reported Tuesday.

In April, Gazprom announced plans to build a 0.5 billion cubic meter underground gas storage facility in the Campine area, near the Belgian port of Antwerp.

The announcement came after the plans were approved at talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt in Moscow March 2, at which time the premier also visited Gazprom's headquarters.

"While CREG welcomes the emergence of additional gas storage capacities in the country, it opposes the Russian company's proposal to provide 100% funding for the project," the media said.

The facility was designed to ensure Russian gas deliveries to Western Europe, and was to be wholly owned by Gazprom.

CREG already informed Belgium's energy minister, Marc Verwilghen, of its opposition to Gazprom's plans in April, but made its assessment public Tuesday.

Gazprom first entered the Belgian market in 2006 with exports of 300 million cubic meters of natural gas.

Belgium does not have proven natural gas reserves and is strongly dependent on energy imports.

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