MOSCOW, December 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have agreed to conduct annual meetings and joint projects on energy security, the two parties said in a joint statement Monday.
On the eve of Russia's G8 presidency, Russian Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko met with OPEC head and Kuwaiti oil minister Sheik Ahmed Fahd Al Ahmed Al Sabah in Moscow.
"This issue [of energy security] must not be discussed only within the G8 framework," Khristenko said. "It is necessary to analyze the situations in other countries that are large energy consumers."
The OPEC head said the organization would continue cooperation with Russia in the sphere of energy security and was planning to hold technical consultations in January-February 2006.
"We believe Russia is important not only as a producer, but also as a large energy consumer," the Kuwaiti energy minister said, adding that Russia could act as an OPEC representative in the G8.
The sides agreed to hold annual meetings, expert exchanges, and seminars, and conduct joint research and development in the energy sphere.
Later on Monday, the OPEC head met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Russia-OPEC cooperation could help in reaching balanced agreements, accounting for both the interests of producers and consumers, Lavrov said.
"We must maintain stable oil prices, and this is important for both producers and consumers," Ahmed Al-Sabah said in response. "Russia, as a large oil producer, can convincingly present its point of view to G8 members."