In the energy sector, Russian Trade and Industry Minister Viktor Khristenko and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez discussed the construction of the Northern Pipeline, the management of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CTC), and future exports of liquefied natural gas.
Apart from energy, the ministers considered prospects for U.S. participation in Russian railway, agricultural engineering, and timber projects.
The ministers recommended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a prominent national business lobby, to use the forthcoming meeting of the bilateral energy working group in Washington, scheduled for June 9-10, to analyze latest changes in Russia's legal climate and implement what had been recommended at the previous meeting in September 2003.
On the CTC project, Khristenko said Russia was a minority shareholder and therefore is driven purely by its own business interests. He said the CTC had entered a phase when exclusive rights of producing companies should give way to equal rights of all stakeholders.
According to him, Russia saw the Northern Pipeline as a first step in huge work aimed at bringing Russian oil to the United States. The ministry will begin designing the pipeline soon, he added and reassured that Russia would not overshadow Russia's European segments.
The CPC was founded in 1992 by the governments of Kazakhstan, Russia, and Oman, to build a 1,580-km (982-mile) export oil pipeline from Kazakhstan's Tengiz oilfield to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk.
In the pipeline that will pump up to 67 million tons of oil per year, Russia holds 24%, Kazakhstan 19%, and Oman 7%. The remaining 50% is distributed between U.S. Chevron (15%), Mobil Oil (7,5%) and Oryx (1.75%), Russian-U.S. joint venture LUKArco (12,5%), Russian-British joint venture Rosneft-Shell Caspian Ventures (7,5%), British Gas (2%), Agip of Italy (2%), and Kazakhstan Pipeline (1.75%).