MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has always been and remains a reliable supplier of energy resources to Europe and is prepared to fulfill its obligations in the future, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.
“Our country has always been and remains a reliable supplier of energy resources to Europe," Putin said during a diplomatic accreditation ceremony for foreign ambassadors to Russia broadcast on Rossiya-24.
Putin said that at the beginning of the week he visited Austria, which was the first western country to sign a purchase agreement on natural gas from the former Soviet Union.
“For almost 50 years we have been steadily exporting energy resources to European governments, fulfilling our obligations on time and completely and we firmly plan on doing business like that in the future," Putin said.
Gazprom is a key gas supplier to the European market, meeting more than a quarter of the EU’s total gas needs. The Ukrainian gas transit system transports around 60 percent of Russia’s Europe-bound gas.
Earlier this week, Russia’s Gazprom and Austrian oil and gas company OMV signed a shareholder pact on the South Stream Austria joint venture, defining the construction plan and use of the respective gas pipeline.
The offshore part of the South Stream pipeline, seen as an alternative export route for EU destined gas, is to run from Russia across the Black Sea to the Bulgarian coast and further onward to Austria’s Baumgarten through Serbia and Hungary, with a total capacity of up to 63 billion cubic meters.
The project stalled when the European Commission expressed concern that Russia’s bilateral agreements with European transit countries, namely Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia, violate the EU Third Energy Package.
Speaking in Vienna Tuesday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak reassured the press that the pipeline construction will be implemented on schedule, as the current problems and issues are simply “working problems."