23 Nov 2009 22:18

Second strand of Yamal-Europe gas pipeline a possibility

BARVIKHA, near Moscow. Nov 23 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said there is a possibility that a second strand of the Yamal-Europe natural gas pipeline will be laid through Belarus.

"If there is a need for such an amount of gas, we will be prepared to give consideration to other ideas, including the Yamal 2 idea. But that will only happen if we have contracts on such volumes of gas," Medvedev told Belarusian reporters.

"The Europeans now have directives on getting energy, including gas, from various sources. Various options are possible, including some that have been considered before, if that tallies with their principles and if it's in tune with out idea of commercial benefit," he said.

Asked why Russia is building the expensive Nord Stream gas pipeline instead of a second strand of Yamal-Europe, Medvedev said: "I believe that the more opportunities are created for supplies of Russian gas to Europe the better it will be both for Europe and for the Russian Federation."

As one argument, he cited the gas crisis nearly a year ago as a result of a dispute between Russian and Ukraine.

"Transit through a country is not always stable. The Ukrainian example shows very clearly that, in case there arise some political complications, some domestic instability, energy security may be sacrificed for collisions that occur on the territory of that country," he said.

But that is not the main reason for Russia's involvement in the Nord Stream project, the president said. "The main reason is the convenience of consumers, all the various European consumers. So several projects have emerged - Nord Stream, South Stream," - he said. There are also projects where Russia is not involved, including Nabucco, Medvedev said.