Moscow, Caracas to carry on course towards strategic cooperation - Putin
Nicolas Maduro and Vladimir Putin in Moscow
The leaders of Russia and Venezuela reaffirmed "their wish for continuing their course towards strategic cooperation in all sectors" at the negotiations in the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. "Russia cherishes the memory of Hugo Chavez, a close and sincere friend of Russia and a courageous and strong man," Putin said after negotiations with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro.
The Venezuelan people "have always enjoyed Russian support and solidarity, including during the time of Comandante Chavez's ailment," Maduro said.
Chavez visited Russia ten times in a decade. "We are working tirelessly to continue the cause of Chavez," Maduro said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Venezuelan, Iranian and Bolivian counterparts Nicolas Maduro, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Evo Morales respectively on Tuesday as part of a summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov said.
"The second day will be dedicated to bilateral meetings. Apparently there will be meetings with the new Venezuelan president, the Iranian president and [the leaders] of a number of countries," Ushakov told journalists.
Putin will meet outgoing Iranian President Ahmadinejad, he said.
The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) adopted a declaration that calls for coordinated action to defend GECF interests before the government agencies of gas consuming countries, and upholding long-term gas contracts and gas pricing based on a link to prices for oil and oil products.
The declaration states that GECF members intend to enhance global-scale coordination to protect the interests of gas exporting countries in all areas, including relations with the regulatory bodies of countries that consume gas.
The GECF members also expressed concerns that certain measures unilaterally introduced by some gas importing countries could have a negative impact on the stability of the gas market. They agreed to uphold the fundamental role of long-term gas contracts in financing major gas projects throughout the value chain and in ensuring mutually acceptable solutions for the security of demand and supply.
The GECF members also affirmed their continued support for gas pricing based on oil/oil products indexation to guarantee demand and supply.
The GECF members agreed to strengthen the Forum as a platform to develop and promote their positions on issues concerning the global gas market, maintain and strengthen the principles of the international trade in gas, including mechanisms to share risks, promote the steady growth of natural gas use and expansion of gas use in different sectors, including as motor fuel and in industry, and encourage GECF dialog with all market players to promote gas as a driver of economic growth.
In addition to Russia, the GECF includes Algeria, Bolivia, Venezuela, Egypt, Iran, Qatar, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Trinidad and Tobago, and Equatorial Guinea. These countries hold 65% of the world's proven gas reserves and account for nearly half of global gas exports. The Netherlands, Norway, Kazakhstan and Iraq have observer status in the organization.
Russian President Vladimir Putin urged traditional gas exporters to resist "unjustified pressure" from the Third Energy Package.
Putin recalled at a gas summit in Moscow "the discriminatory restrictions imposed by a number of consuming nations with respect to natural gas suppliers in recent years."
"I'm talking above all about changes in European Union energy regulation and law, the so-called Third Energy Package. The enactment of this gas directive seriously restricts the activity of traditional gas suppliers to the EU market," Putin said.
He said those suppliers had invested their own funds in the development of the European gas sector for decades.
"In these conditions the solidarity of the exporting nations is of key importance, and it would be more effective to resist unjustified pressure, and defend the interests of consumers and suppliers of gas to the external markets together. We want our interests to be taken into account fairly," he said.
Putin said that working out common positions among the states participating in the forum regarding the main issues of interaction with importing countries was also important in the context of the stronger competition among fuels in the world. "The efficiency, the dependability, the environmental friendliness of gas are objective factors. But this does not mean we have to rest on our laurels, otherwise we would lose the competition with other forms of resources," he said.
A rejection of the basic principles of long-term gas contracts would ultimately undermine the energy security of the country buyers themselves, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a gas summit in Moscow on Monday.
Technologically, the gas industry is developing rapidly, and the equipment used to produce and transport it is improving. As a consequence, this resource is gaining a stronger foothold on the global market, Putin said.
"However, this also increases pressure on the exporting countries. I see a serious challenge for all of us here. I'm primarily talking about attempts to dictate terms of pipeline gas supplies that are economically unacceptable for producers, about the desire to change the principles of gas supplies on the basis of long-term contracts, to detach contract prices from the value of oil and petroleum products as a market and price reference point, to reduce the level of mandatory volumes of gas to be removed," Putin said.
The application of new technologies in the gas industry is not a reason for rejecting time-tested instruments such as long-term contracts or the take-or-pay principle, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
"Definitely, new technologies for extracting and transporting hydrocarbons increase the elasticity of supply on the gas market, new price guidelines appear, including spot [guidelines]. However, this is not a reason to reject those that are time-tested and promising in practice, including long-term contracts and the take-or-pay principle," Putin said at the gas summit in Moscow.
The task of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) is to forge a unified position on gas pricing, Russian President Vladimir Putin said while presenting at the GECF's second summit.
"I think the forum's key task should be to elaborate a shared position on pricing issues, to create conditions to reduce excessive price volatility and to raise transparency in the industry, which will generally facilitate the development of gas transport infrastructure and increased reliability of supplies," the Russian president said.
The GECF also needs to work together to gather and analyze industry-specific data and to support scientific research of the global gas market, Putin said.
The Moscow Kremlin is hosting a major summit of thirty gas exporting countries who account for two thirds of total gas reserves and 45% of LNG exports. Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro, Iran’s outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other high-flyers are also invited to attend the President’s Cup jubilee horse race ahead of a series of talks.
For instance, up for discussion is the future of relationship between Russia and Venezuela after the death of Hugo Chavez.
The second ever get-together of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum will see presidents of Bolivia, Venezuela, Iran, Equatorial Guinea, the head of Algeria’s Nation Council, prime ministers of Iraq and Libya come to Moscow to discuss the outlooks for the global gas market and its possible stimuli, Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov said.
The rest of the member nations - Egypt, Qatar, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Oman and the UAE - will be represented by ministerial delegations.
Konstantin Gusakov, the organizer of the President’s horse race, told the Voice of Russia up for grabs will be three high awards, such as the Prize of Russian Horse Breeder, the Club Jockey and the National Heritage.
The prize fund is recalculated every year. In 2013, it is estimated at 10 million rubles, or 304,000 US dollars, compared to 3 million rubles at the first race.
Leaders and topmost energy officials of the world’s major gas exporting countries are set to gather in Moscow for summit talks, the Kremlin says.
The second ever forum of nations that account for some 73% of total gas reserves and 41% of global LNG production will run off on July 1-2, Kremlin’s top foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Monday.
Mr. Ushakov said that Iran’s outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Libya’s PM Ali Zidan have already confirmed their attendance.
He noted however that since the newly-elected Iranian President Hassan Rohani has not yet begun his official duties, Putin intends to meet with Ahmadinejad instead.
The Kremlin official also pointed out that the first day of the GECF summit would be devoted to leaders’ meeting, while bilateral discussions will be held among experts of member states on the second day of the event.
The first day of the summit will also see a President’s Cup Horse Race later in the evening, where Mr. Putin is expected to talk with CEOs of major energy companies, who are also due to honour the GECF summit.
The Grand Prix race will be the tenth since it was set up by Russia’s Agriculture Ministry in 2004. It has a history of lacing various high-level meetings, including CIS leaders’ summits.
The Gas Exporting Countries Forum was founded in 2001 in the Iranian capital of Tehran. Its headquarters are located in Qatar’s Doha.
The legal framework of the GECF forum was signed into force in Moscow in 2008, where GECF energy chiefs adopted its charter and signed an intergovernmental agreement.