But Deputy Chief Executive Alexander Medvedev simultaneously repeated a warning that Europe should make clear its stance on Russian gas after EU calls for diversification of supplies. Those calls followed a New Year's price spat with Ukraine that temporarily disrupted supplies to Europe and highlighted its dependance on Russia.
During a high-profile state visit to China in March, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled plans to send 80 billion cubic meters of gas per year to China through two pipelines, one from the east and one form the west. Under the project China is due to start receiving gas through both routes from 2011, though Medvedev said the final volumes would depend on the price agreed to with the Chinese.
Their Cold War hostilities firmly behind them, the Kremlin and Beijing have been forging cozy ties grounded largely on Russia's vast hydrocarbon reserves.
An oil deal struck earlier this week encapsulates their strategic relationship. BP PLC's Russian joint venture announced Tuesday that it had agreed to sell a 120,000 barrel per day production unit to Chinese oil and gas company Sinopec for an undisclosed sum. Later in the day, state-controlled OAO Rosneft announced that it would exercise an option to buy 51 percent of the company from Sinopec, an acquisition that would be funded from the unit's oil revenues, the AP reports.