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    Europe's gas import dependence to grow to 80% by 2030-Netherlands

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    Europe's dependence on natural gas imports will increase to 80% by the year 2030 from the current 48%, the Dutch economic affairs minister said Monday.

    AMSTERDAM, June (RIA Novosti) - Europe's dependence on natural gas imports will increase to 80% by the year 2030 from the current 48%, the Dutch economic affairs minister said Monday.

    Speaking at the 23rd World Gas Conference, Laurens Jan Brinkhorst also said the share of liquefied natural gas in world gas trade would rise to 50%.

    He urged greater openness and transparency on the energy market, adding that one major precondition for that openness was giving Russia access to the European market on an equal, nondiscriminatory basis.

    He said collaboration between energy producers and consumers was crucial for the balanced development of energy markets.

    President Vladimir Putin rejected criticism last Friday that Russia was an allegedly unreliable energy supplier.

    He also proposed that foreign partners seek solutions that would increase trust and boost energy cooperation in the light of a controversy that has surrounded Russia since energy giant Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in January.

    U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney accused Russia in May of using its energy resources to blackmail neighboring nations.

    But Putin defended Russia's position. "We are not imposing anything," he said. "We have resources and offer them, and you need them."

    Speaking in an interview ahead of the world gas conference, a spokesman for Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom said the company would raise the issue of Russian gas transit to European consumers via Ukraine.

    "In the course of our contacts [in Amsterdam], we will also discuss this matter," Sergei Kupriyanov said after being asked whether Gazprom was going to warn its partners about possible interruptions to Russian gas supplies.

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