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Piebalgs on Gasfinger: “These meetings between Russia and Algeria makes us nervous”

EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs issued comments in regards to the latest Russia-Algeria energy agreements. piebalgs.jpg Andris Piebalgs: “We want to have a fair price. This is not only about commercial interests. It is about transparency, too.” (IHT) Excerpts:

EU official says Russia is seeking gas cartel Energy chief worried about a Gazprom linkup with Algeria The top European Union energy official warned Wednesday that Russia was trying to build a gas cartel in Europe by linking up with Algeria. The official, Andris Piebalgs, the EU energy commissioner, said in Berlin that if Russia and Algeria agreed to cooperate in the production and distribution of gas to Europe, “they could create a kind of cartel.” Russia provides 25 percent of European gas supplies and Algeria 10 percent. Norway and other European producers provide the rest. Piebalgs said such a concentration of resources could hinder competition when the commission is trying to break up some of the biggest European energy companies by separating production, transmission and distribution to give consumers greater choice. “Our worries are the development of the contacts between Russia and Algeria,” said Piebalgs, who since taking charge of the European energy sector in 2004 has called for liberalization of the market and wider diversification to avoid reliance on a single supplier. … Energy analysts said attempts by Russia to create what could be a gas cartel similar to OPEC should be met with maximum resistance by EU members. “This would be extremely dangerous for Europe,” said Claudia Kemfert, an energy expert at the German Institute for Economic Research. “Europe must quickly react by diversifying its energy resources. Apart from making more use of renewable energy, the Europeans should focus more on buying liquefied natural gas from other countries, particularly Qatar.”

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