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  Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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The Russian energy and industry minister met with U.S. President George Bush Monday
The Russian energy and industry minister met with U.S. President George Bush Monday to discuss energy issues, and said the selection of foreign companies to develop Russia's Shtokman gas field project in the Barents Sea would hinge on their status on the American market. "I think two or three partners should be chosen in the end and the selection will largely depend on how effective their programs are for long-term presence on the American market," Viktor Khristenko said. Khristenko said companies from other countries could also join the project, in which state-owned gas monopoly Gazprom would hold a 51% controlling stake. However, they should have long-term presence on the U.S. market "because the first phase of the Shtokman project will target the U.S. market only," Khristenko said. He said the final decision on Gazprom's partners in the $10-billion project could be expected next spring. On September 16, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced a shortlist of contenders, which included U.S.-based companies Chevron and ConocoPhillips, Norwegian holdings Hydro and Statoil, and France's Total. Gas production is set to begin in 2010. Khristenko said his meeting with Bush also focused on global energy issues, a Russian-U.S. agreement expected to be signed before year's end on Russia's accession to the WTO, and Russia's 2006 G-8 presidency. The meeting was also attended by Russia's business delegates representing privately owned LUKoil, Rosneft, Russian-British venture TNK-BP, and Gazprom, all of which cooperate with American companies. The parties noted a substantial increase in Russian investment in the United States. Khristenko spoke confidently after his talks with Bush. "I see today's meeting with President Bush as particularly productive because it provided guarantees against any politically-related risks," he said. Khristenko also said his trip to the United States had altered the future structure of bilateral economic relations, including in joint projects in third-world countries, such as Iraq, in which Russian and American companies have shared interests.
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