26 Nov 2010 21:21

Putin against European proposal for sharing control of gas pipelines

BERLIN. Nov 26 (Interfax) - A European proposal for selling to various companies control of parts of pipelines delivering natural gas from Russia to Europe is fraught with higher gas prices, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

"There is a pipe, and we are told to sell that part of the pipe to a third party - an individual or a legal entity. Okay, we'll sell it and there will be three or four companies in between. And, to put it bluntly, each of them will want to make some money and the gas will be more expensive for the ultimate consumer," Putin said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"We realize that our European counterparts are focusing on demonopolizing the market. On the whole, it's correct. But it needs to be borne in mind that the energy market is essentially different from the transportation market. The proposed solutions may prove harmful and dangerous for vertically integrated companies, above all companies in the Russian Federation and [Germany]," Putin said.

"No one has ever been able to explain to us how the new rules are planned to operate," he said.