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Gazprom warns EU it could divert gas to US, China

Written by: Staff
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MOSCOW, Apr 20 (Reuters) Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has warned Europe not to block its ambitions to expand abroad, reminding the region's consumers that it can seek alternative markets elsewhere.

''Attempts to limit Gazprom's activities in the European market and to politicise questions of gas supplies, which are in fact entirely within the economic sphere, will not produce good results,'' CEO Alexei Miller said in a statement.

Miller delivered his broadside after a meeting on Tuesday with ambassadors from the European Union, whose members rely on Russia for a quarter of their gas and were shocked when Gazprom cut supplies at the New Year in a price dispute with Ukraine.

It also came after British competition regulators proposed changing takeover rules amid market speculation that Gazprom may bid for the country's largest gas distributor, Centrica.

''It should not be forgotten that we are actively seeking new markets such as North America and China,'' Miller said. ''It's no coincidence that competition for energy resources is growing.'' He also said that Gazprom understood its responsibilities and would continue to be the main supplier of gas to Europe, honouring all existing contracts.

REUTERS CS DS1336

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