Russia, China eye gas deal at June investor forum: official
Russia and China are hoping to sign a crucial gas deal that will allow Moscow to diversify energy supplies beyond Europe at an investor forum in June to be attended by the Chinese president, a Kremlin adviser said on Thursday.
Russian gas giant Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) in 2009 signed a framework agreement which could eventually see 70 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas sent to China.
"As far as the contract to supply gas to China is concerned, the work on it is ongoing and of course we would like this work to be completed before the forum starts," the Kremlin's top economic adviser Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters.
Russia hosts a top investor forum in the former imperial capital Saint Petersburg on June 16-18 scheduled to be attended by China's Hu Jintao.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Finnish President Tarja Halonen and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono are also expected to be in attendance.
Russia has in recent years sought to align itself more closely with China as it seeks to unlock new energy markets in Asia.
It said last year it hoped to clinch the gas deal with China by mid-2011, with first deliveries to start in 2015.
The talks have been mired in pricing differences however, with Chinese officials saying in November that differences between the two sides were 100 dollars for 1,000 cubic metres.
© 2011 AFP