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    BP AND SHELL INTEND TO INVEST UP TO $15 BILLION IN RUSSIAN POWER INDUSTRY

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    LONDON, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - The UK oil corporations British Petroleum and Shell voice their intention to invest in the Russian energy sector up to $15 billion, Russia's First Deputy Power Industry Minister Ivan Matlashov told a Wednesday press conference after a London round table "European Energy Space: Russian Vector." "These British companies openly say that their aim is strategic, long-term cooperation with Russia's energy companies," Mr. Matlashov said.

    In his opinion, "strategic cooperation will continue; the issue now is to work out the toolkit of this cooperation in such spheres as energy safety, infrastructure, tax regulation." Mr. Matlashov also said British Energy Minister Stephen Timms actively asked his Russian partners about the working out of the North European gas pipeline, to go from Russia to continental Europe and further to the British Isles.

    "We reported that a feasibility study had been made, the project's cost assessed and possible variants of laying the pipeline given," Mr. Matlashov said.

    He said, "the demand for natural gas on the European market is growing, while Great Britain will import gas in the near future." "This project will be interesting to Russia as a variant of an all-European project to enhance the safety of Europe's energy supply," Mr. Matlashov concluded.

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