LONDON, April 22 Britain said on Tuesday Russia
was using it status as an energy superpower to hold other
countries to ransom and that a meeting of the G7 group of
countries next month had to find a way to reduce dependence on
In comments published by the Times newspaper, Energy
Secretary Ed Davey said Britain would use the meeting to promote
a global plan for developing alternative energy sources and
supply networks to try to curb Russia's ability to wield its gas
reserves as a geopolitical tool.
The G7 group of leading industrialised economies has made
improving energy security a priority after Russia's annexation
of the Ukrainian region of Crimea, and fears Moscow could cut
off supplies to Ukraine if the dispute deepens.
"It can't be right for Russia to hold individual countries
to ransom," said Davey. "There have been at least two, if not
three, occasions in recent times when Russia has sought to use
its energy superpower status in quite an aggressive manner."
Russia supplies around a third of Europe's gas, some 40
percent of which it ships through Ukraine.
G7 energy ministers will meet in Rome on May 5-6.
"It is a real opportunity to show Russia we mean business by
improving our energy security and resilience," said Davey.
"We have got to look at everything, from more diversified
supplies of gas, whether it's from the U.S., from shale, or
helping other countries who are demanding a lot of gas now but
who needn't. Maybe Japan will turn on some of its (nuclear)
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told Russian
lawmakers on Tuesday that talk of Europe importing gas from the
United States was a bluff, and Moscow was more interested than
ever in diversifying destinations for its natural gas exports.
Russia's top natural gas producer Gazprom said it
would be able to meet Europe's rising demand for gas thanks to
new projects, even as the bloc signalled it was looking
Britain itself would be well placed to deal with any Russian
cutoff Britain as it gets most of its imports from Norway.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn and