Putin: Russia Ready to Consider Liberalizing Gas Exports

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the head of French energy major Total on Friday that Moscow will consider the possibility of opening up Russia’s pipeline gas exports.

According to Reuters, Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne asked Putin during an economic forum in St Petersburg to allow a joint venture of Total and Russia’s Novatek, to export pipeline gas from Russia to Europe.

Currently, only Kremlin-controlled Gazprom has exclusive rights to export Russian gas via pipelines.

Putin also said he did not plan to cut off transit of Russian gas through Ukraine and was ready for talks with Kiev over the long-standing dispute.

Putin also said he would welcome French energy major Total and other companies to join the Nord Stream 2 project of a pipeline from Russia to Germany.

On Thursday, France’s Total signed a binding agreement on the terms to partner with  Russian company Novatek and enter its LNG 2 project.

The agreement provides for the acquisition by Total of a 10% participation interest in the Project as well as the right to acquire additionally up to 5% in case Novatek decides to decrease its participation interest in the Project below the currently planned 60%.

The transaction will be closed no later than 31 March 2019. The project’s value is determined at $25.5 billion.