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Russia builds energy transit route to Europe

Robert Fico, Slovakia's Prime Minister visited Moscow last weekend to discuss oil and gas issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Fradkov.

Russian officials have promised energy supplies to Slovakia at least up to 2014. In return, Fico has agreed to give up attempts to recover stocks of the local Transpetrol oil company, which is part of the Druzhba pipeline system. YUKOS in 2002 bought 49% in Transpetrol which owns pipelines in Slovakia connected with the Russian Druzhba pipeline system. The official receiver of the bankrupt YUKOS company has recently secured the right to manage the stock. The Slovakian government has voiced interest to buy the shares. But the Russian gas monopolist Gazprom is also reported eyeing the asset. „The conflict situation around YUKOS's stake in Transpetrol has been resolved to the benefit of Russia and Slovakia,” Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said after talks with his Slovakian counterpart.

Slovakia receives nearly all of its oil and gas from Russia and is a key transit route for Russian energy supplies into Europe. „I know that companies are considering increasing their cooperation in this area (of oil and gas),” Russian President Putin said meeting Prime Minister Robert Fico. Slovakia has a supply contract valid through 2014, the Slovakian prime minister underscored, making clear that his country would be willing to cede the stake in Transpetrol for a lucrative energy deal. The Russian government is likely to persevere with its endeavors to conquer the European energy market on Monday when Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev comes to Moscow for talks. The Bulgarian premier and his Russian counterpart are to discuss the upcoming construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline which will increase Russia’s oil supplies to Europe by an annual 30 million tons. (