Natural Gas
Better US-Russia energy relations viable: Russia Ex-min
- Russia-US energy cooperation could be freed from unnecessary political interference, says Russia's former energy minister

It is possible to have more fruitful cooperation between Russia and the U.S. so energy cooperation can be freed from unnecessary political interference, according to Igor Yusufov, Russia's former energy minister on Sunday.

Yusufov, who is also the former CEO of Rosneft from 2001 to 2004, and energy minister of Vladimir Putin’s first term as president told Anadolu Agency that he foresees greater and more fruitful cooperation between Russia and the U.S. following U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's official Russia visit, tentatively scheduled for April 12.

The former minister, who shared that he has known Tillerson since April 2002, said, "I dare to assert this tough and very professional master of energy diplomacy, whose skills will be now required in global diplomacy, has a deep understanding of the situation I describe in this interview. This is the reason I spoke in favor of a convocation of a Third Russian-American Commercial Energy summit."

Two summits were previously held in 2002 and 2003, in Houston and Saint Petersburg, respectively.

Yusufov said that a mutually-beneficial Russian-American dialogue could bring closer cooperation between the energy superpowers for international market stability.

"Russia has important hydrocarbon production projects to offer, and theoretically is able to overcome the lack of technology which arose from politically-motivated sanctions," he said adding that however, with American technologies, management skills and investments, overcoming such obstacles would be more quickly resolved even more so than with other partner countries.

Bilateral energy cooperation could be freed from unnecessary political interference, he stressed.

With the U.S.' extensive energy resources, the U.S. can upgrade to an active gas exporter in which it could then engage in broader international dialogue among gas producers and users, Yusufov suggested.

"Russia, as a major gas exporter, is ready to introduce this dialogue with active American participation," he said.

Yusufov hailed the bilateral energy relations between former U.S. president Bush and Putin fifteen years ago and proposed that Russia could once again strengthen energy ties with the U.S. and is ready to engage in dialogue to this end.

- Oil cut decision

Yusufov, in reference to December's oil cut agreement, said the decision of OPEC and 11 non-OPEC countries was market-wise and justified.

Yusufov said months after the oil-cut decision, despite speculation of its failure, the majority of key players including Russia voluntarily observed the oil cut deal.

"The main proof of this fact is not only the rather optimistic declaration on the OPEC supervising body but the comparative market stability achieved in the beginning of 2017," he said.

- Turkey-Russia relations

Yusufov declared that the precarious gas sector holds the key to economic cooperation between relations between Turkey and Russia.

"I am sure that any move aimed at extending the possibilities of hydrocarbons trade between our countries has to be seen exclusively in a positive light," he said.

Large-scale cooperation between Russia and Turkey has excellent development prospects, he asserted.

Yusufov said that at present the major areas of this cooperation are trade in energy products, the shipment of Russian oil and petroleum products through the Turkish Straits with the transit route for natural gas being a possibility.

Up to 150 million tons of mostly Russian crude oil pass through Turkey’s Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits every year.

"This makes Turkey one of Russia’s key strategic partners in the global oil market. Russia invests directly in the Turkish energy industry, including the power generation sector. Besides, there is considerable cooperation in nuclear energy, energy equipment supplies and maintenance services. Joint projects are being carried out in the exploration and production of hydrocarbon resources in Russia and third countries," he said.

Russian companies have also shown strong interest in gas-fired electricity generation projects in Turkey, he added.

"The rapid development of alternative and renewable energy sources in Turkey, as well as the imminent incorporation of nuclear energy in the country’s energy balance, provide additional opportunities for technological exchange. So I see very good prerequisites for the extension of Russian-Turkish energy cooperation," Yusufov said.

The basis for energy cooperation between Russia and Turkey was laid down fifteen years ago on meeting former Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler in 2002. He explained back then he received first-hand information on the privatization of Turkey's energy sector, and was then able to draw up plans for gas exportation to Turkey, which has now been fulfilled.

"I hope this energy cooperation will benefit all of our people," he concluded.

By Murat Temizer

Anadolu Agency

02 Apr,2017