Russia sets 2017 target for launch of trans-Korean gas link
Russia could begin funnelling gas to South Korea through a pipeline project, considered risky, proposed for the North from 2017, the head of Russia's Gazprom natural gas monopoly said on Wednesday.
"The deliveries of Russian pipeline gas to South Korea could begin in 2017," the Interfax news agency quoted Gazprom chief Alexei Miller as saying on the sidelines of talks between President Dmitry Medvedev and his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak.
Miller said the two leaders discussed the deliveries during their talks, which took place in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg.
The comments represent the first time Gazprom has named a specific target date for the project, the completion of which depends on political support from the isolated Stalinist regime in the North.
Russia, the world's biggest natural gas producer, has been keen to expand its Asian sales and has been supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) to South Korea since the Sakhalin-2 project went online in the Pacific in 2009.
Gazprom is under contract to ship 1.5 million tonnes of LNG per year to the South through 2025 -- a deal that does not suit the South's record-breaking energy needs.
The pipeline's potential is especially important to the South because most of the Sakhalin-2 gas is sent directly to power and gas providers in Japan.
© 2011 AFP