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    Energy Minister Alexander Novak

    Moscow Welcomes Participation of Spain's Repsol Company in Projects in Russia

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    Russia is open to foreign investors and welcomes the participation of the Spanish energy company Repsol in its national projects, the country's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) In March, Russian media reported on talks held between Russia's Gazprom Neft oil company and the Spanish entity about the potential purchase of Repsol's oil producing assets in Russia's Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Area.

    "We welcome the participation of the Repsol company in the projects in our country… Russia is open for foreign investors, we have 25 percent of overall oil output produced by foreign companies, that's why I am sure that cpp[eration with Repsol would continue," Novak told reporters, answering a question about potential withdrawal of the Spanish company from the Russian market following the potential sale of its assets.

    The minister added that he hoped Moscow and Madrid could restore the volume of bilateral trade to the peak level reached in 2013.

    "I consider that is possible within a short time if the existing trade turnover growth dynamics would be maintained," the Russian official added in response to a question about the possibility of returning to the pre-crisis volume of bilateral trade between Russia and Spain citing a 50-percent increase in bilateral trade in the first quarter of 2017 if to compare with 2016.

    Relations between Russia and Western states, including Spain, deteriorated amid the Ukrainian crisis, with Brussels and Washington both placing the blame for the eastern Ukraine conflict on Russia. The United States and the European Union continue to refuse to recognize Crimea’s rejoining Russia, which happened as a result of the region's March 2014 referendum.

    Trade between Russia and the EU member states has been affected by two factors: the West's decision to introduced several rounds of anti-Moscow sanctions, and Russia's decision to impose a food embargo against the countries that have targeted it with sanctions.

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