Gazprom official accuses head of IEA of attempting to "destroy" Russian company

The head of Russian natural gas giant OAO Gazprom's export division on Friday accused the head of the International Energy Agency of attempting to "destroy" the company by organizing European governments to thwart Gazprom's interests, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

IEA Executive Director Claude Mandil has sent a letter to European governments recommending they resist Gazprom's attempts to expand downstream into Europe and that they jointly pressure Gazprom to abandon its monopoly on Russian natural gas exports, Alexander Medvedev told journalists in an interview in his Moscow office, according to the report.

Mandil sent a letter to ministers of industry and energy of European countries "calling on the European Union to pressure Russia and actually destroy Gazprom, including its export monopoly," Medvedev was quoted as saying.

Mandil has called on Gazprom to open up its gas export pipelines to other gas producers and questioned whether it is investing enough in developing its reserves to meet commitments to its European customers.

Medvedev said the company would have no problems meeting demand in the future.

"Our reserve base is sufficient to meet not only the demand of Europe, but also our new markets: China, Korea, and the United States," Dow Jones Newswires quoted him as saying.

Medvedev also rejected allowing independent Russian gas producers to export gas from Russia, saying: "even small volumes could deteriorate the market," the report said.

The Paris-based IEA was not available to comment late Friday, reports AP.

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