Diplomatic and Military Affairs

Russia offers help to increase energy supplies

Updated: 2011-03-14 08:09

(China Daily)

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MOSCOW - Japan has asked Russia for more energy supplies as the earthquake-ravaged country is bracing for electricity shortages following the disaster, the Russian government said.

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At a special meeting dedicated to the aftermath of Friday's massive 9-magnitude quake in Japan, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Moscow should do everything to help its neighbor which his energy deputy said had requested more gas.

"Our neighbors are faced with huge grief and tragedy," Putin told the meeting on Saturday evening, saying all necessary assistance should be rendered despite "the problems which we have inherited from the past."

"This is our reliable partner of many years. We need to do everything to help Japan in this situation," he said in comments released by the government.

Russia offers help to increase energy supplies

Bilateral ties have been strained by a row over a disputed island chain that has been unresolved since World War II.

That dispute has flared up since November when President Dmitry Medvedev paid an unexpected visit to one of the four islands which are claimed by Tokyo.

Putin's deputy in charge of energy, Igor Sechin, said Japan had asked state-controlled gas giant Gazprom for additional liquefied natural gas supplies, adding the company was now looking how to divert two tankers, currently under other contracts, toward Japan.

"It will be two 100,000-ton vessels," Sechin said.

Russia can send up to 500,000 tons of LNG to Japan this year if Japanese companies file a request and talks are held, he said.

In partnership with Japanese companies Mitsui and Mitsubishi, Gazprom operates Russia's only LNG plant on Sakhalin Island, a project known as Sakhalin-2.

Sechin also said Russia was ready to increase supplies of coal and representatives of the Siberian Coal Energy Company would go to Japan next week.

"We can ramp up supplies by 3 million to 4 million tons fairly quickly," he said, adding that Russia could also supply Japan with power as it has extra capacities generated in the Far East.

Agence France-Presse


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