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Russia Can Diversify Away From EU as China Welcomes Gas Cooperation

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Supplying gas to China is a logical move for Russia, given Chinese demand and the country's willingness to pay a fair price, Gazprom advisor Marcel Kramer said Wednesday.

BRUSSELS, May 14 (RIA Novosti) – Supplying gas to China is a logical move for Russia, given Chinese demand and the country's willingness to pay a fair price, Gazprom advisor Marcel Kramer said Wednesday.

“The Chinese are making an important step of getting more natural gas in their energy mix,” said Kramer, an advisor to Gazprom’s management on the South Stream pipeline and European affairs.

“It is wise from a Russian point of view to work on diversifying its markets and on supplying those people who want to get the supply and are willing to pay a fair price for it,” Kramer said during a conference on EU-Russian energy cooperation in Brussels.

He added that the move is a signal for the EU, amid considerable uncertainty about whether US natural gas will actually be supplied to Europe.

Kramer explained that the recent shift to Asian markets such as China and India does not mean that Gazprom is suspending ties with EU partners.

“We should not forget that Europe is still extremely important as a market for Russian exports and there is a very strong commitment in Russia, also in Gazprom, toward maintaining a strong reputation in the European market as a reliable supplier," Kramer said.

Preparations are underway for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Shanghai next week to cement economic ties with China, including on energy. During the visit, Russia and China could agree on long-term gas supplies and increasing oil supplies.

The current standoff between Russia and the EU over tensions in Ukraine is likely to give an impetus to Moscow’s long-awaited deal on exporting up to 60 billion cubic meters of gas per year via the eastern route to China, the largest market for Russian gas in the Asia-Pacific region.

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