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. Putin Pushes For Long-Term Energy Contracts For Black Sea States

Twelve-nation South Europe bloc pledges beltway around Black Sea
Istanbul (RIA Novosti) - The 12-nation Black Sea summit Monday highlighted the region's rapid growth and pledged to build a beltway road around the Black Sea. In a joint declaration following the Monday summit, the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation pledged to enhance cooperation between its member states to build a beltway road around the Black Sea and to provide for better sea transportation to link European transport routes to those across Eurasia. The members - Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine - highlighted that the region is one of the fastest-growing in the world and indicated in the summit declaration that the bloc, founded in 1992, may need to revise its future targets and commitments accordingly. In November, the current presidency, Turkey, will hand over to Ukraine, still embroiled in political turmoil and looking at a snap parliamentary election in the fall.
by Staff Writers
Istanbul (RIA Novosti) Jun 26, 2007
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday the energy markets of Black Sea littoral states should be stabilized by long-term contracts. "A secure energy supply is an increasingly important factor for progress. In this context, we propose broader use of long-term contracts as a means of strengthening the stability of Black Sea energy markets," the president said at a summit of the 12 members of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization.

Putin said diversification of supplies, insurance, and asset swaps to share financial risks were the most important issues to be resolved in order to ensure security of supply.

"We are ready to join our partners in the region in resolving major issues that will affect not only the economic mood of the region's counties, but for the entire European economy and the global economy," Putin said.

The Russian leader highlighted the need to provide a sound resource base for each project, warning that "Otherwise there will be nothing but empty words and frustrations."

He pointed out Moscow's readiness to continue work on a Black Sea Energy Ring project, promoted by Russia's leadership as a means of creating an open energy market around the Black Sea and in Europe.

Despite recent EU pledges to liberalize and deregulate European energy markets, Russian gas giant Gazprom has been relying mainly on long-term bilateral contracts with individual members of the 27-nation bloc for supplies of natural gas.

The members of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Organization, founded in 1992, are: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

In a final declaration, the summit granted the observer status to the European Commission.

earlier related report
Greece joins Russia-led gas project, Putin happy about direct access to markets
ISTANBUL, June 25 (RIA Novosti) - President Putin said Monday a Russia-led natural gas pipeline project, which Greece vows to join, is in Russia's interests because it gives it direct access to consumers.

"This project means new transport capacity to support new contracts," Putin said referring to a project under which a gas pipeline from Russia to Italy through Bulgaria - and now Greece - will be laid.

He said the South Stream project would, along with Nord Stream in the Baltic, give Russia direct access to consumers in the European Union.

"Greece perused [Russia's] proposal and is ready to join the project together with Russia, Bulgaria and Italy," Konstantinos Karamanlis said in Istanbul.

The first agreement on the South Stream project was signed June 23 in Rome by Russian gas giant Gazprom and ENI, Italy's leading gas company, with which Gazprom also has a long-term bilateral gas supply deal.

While the required capacity has yet to be determined, Russia has stated that it would fill the pipe with its own as well as Central Asian gas.

The South Stream will run parallel to the Blue Stream pipeline that brings Russian gas to Turkey under the Black Sea.

Source: RIA Novosti

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New Russian Tanker Company To Develop Arctic
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Jun 26, 2007
On June 20, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ordering the country's two largest tanker companies to be reorganized into a single corporation. The objects of the merger are 100% state-owned Sovkomflot in St. Petersburg, the country's largest tanker company by capacity, and Novoship, the second largest, in which the government owns an 87.4% stake, in Novorossiisk on the Black Sea coast.

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