Gazprom against opening natural gas pipelines

Gazprom, the Russian natural gas monopoly, does not support opening natural gas transportation networks for transit, the vice chairman of the company, Aleksandr Ryazanov, told RIA Novosti on Monday.

"Free access to the pipeline will collapse the natural gas market. This should not happen," Mr. Ryazanov said.

He pointed out that the government held the same position in negotiations on Russia's entrance to the World Trade Organization (WTO). At earlier negotiations on the issue, the European Union requested free access to the Russian natural gas pipelines.

Mr. Ryazanov said that independent natural gas producers were allowed to build pipelines, however it was not advantageous for them to do so. "To do this, at least 2,000 kilometers of pipeline should be laid," he said.

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