MOSCOW, July 23 The monopoly held by
state-controlled Gazprom on the right to export
Russian gas by pipeline was described as "unshakeable" by an
aide to President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
Gazprom has the sole right to export gas via pipelines and
has secured a $400 billion deal to ship gas to China over 30
years. Other companies, including Kremlin-controlled Rosneft
, have said they would also like to ship gas eastwards.
Vedomosti newspaper this week quoted an order from Putin as
saying the government should consider allowing producers other
than Gazprom to export gas from new fields in east Siberia and
Russia's far east.
But Kremlin economic adviser Andrei Belousov said Gazprom
would retain the exclusive rights for selling gas abroad via
"Gazprom's monopoly on (pipeline) network gas exports
remains unshakeable," Belousov told reporters.
Gazprom, which supplies a third of Europe's gas needs, lost
the exclusive right to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) in
legislation signed by Putin at the end of last year.
Belousov said producers other than Gazprom may take part in
a consortium to expand the gas pipeline network.
"Those are strategic issues, which are not connected to
depriving Gazprom of the monopoly," he said.
(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin;
editing by Jane Baird)