MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Italian business is interested in participating in the projects for the delivery of Russian gas to Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Italian news agency Agi in an interview, adding that Russia remains the largest supplier of natural gas to Italy.
According to the minister, energy sector is a strategic direction in the Russia-Italy multifaceted cooperation and this issue was discussed in detail during the talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on October 24.
"Russia remains the key supplier of gas to Italy providing about 35 percent of Italy's needs for natural gas. Italian business is interested in participating in projects for the delivery of Russian gas to Europe. The Saipem company is engaged in the Nord Stream 2 project. At a corporate level, we are working on a possibility of connecting Italian companies to the construction of gas transportation infrastructure as part of Russian gas supplies to European countries via 'southern route," Lavrov said.
Lavrov noted that the agreement on the transit of Russian natural gas through Ukraine to Europe expires next year.
"President Vladimir Putin instructed the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Energy and Gazprom to explore the issue of its possible extension. Consultations of experts from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union took place in Brussels in September-October. In this context, I would like to emphasize that the Russian side did not speak about stopping the transit of gas through Ukraine after 2019. But its volumes and conditions should be agreed upon within the framework of appropriate negotiations on a pragmatic and market basis," the minister added.
On October 24, Putin held a meeting with Conte in Moscow with the participation of leaders of major Italian companies, including energy ones. Following the meeting, the sides signed a package of documents.