Russia and the European Union will discuss early in 2012 the possibility of exempting Russian companies from the provisions of the EU Third Energy Package, which requires the separation of energy production, transportation and sales, European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger said on Thursday.
“We have agreed to hold discussions with experts and European regulators early next year to see in which cases and to which extent the (existing) exemptions may be applied to gas infrastructure projects,” Oettinger told reporters after his talks with Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko.
The European energy envoy said the EU considered changes in the Third Energy Package undesirable and unrealistic but some exemptions were possible.
The Third Energy Package particularly affects the operations of Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom, which produces and sells gas and owns transportation facilities.
The European Commission is prepared to discuss the possibility of assigning a special status to the South Stream pipeline project, which is intended to carry Russian natural gas along the bed of the Black Sea to Europe, Shmatko told reporters after his talks with Oettinger.
“The European Commission is still ready to discuss the possibility of assigning the TEN (Trans European Network) status to South Stream after receiving more detailed data on its volume and route,” Shmatko said.
Russia plans to launch the South Stream pipeline in 2015. The pipeline will transport up to 63 billion cubic meters of gas.