US, Russia can meet global energy demand together:Novak

Russia and U.S. could meet the growing global energy demand if they work together, Energy Minister Alexander Novak told his U.S. counterpart Rick Perry at a meeting held in Moscow on Thursday.

In remarks made in front of reporters, Novak acknowledged that the relations between the two countries were far from perfect, but Russia and the U.S. were two of the world’s leading energy producers.

“Our countries can meet the growing energy demand in the world only through joint efforts,” he said.

The Russian minister also said that Russia supports both the transparency of global energy markets, and the right of customers to choose their own source of supply.

Novak’s words came after Perry reiterated Washington’s opposition to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which is expected to cost around $11 billion, and transport 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas per year to Germany via the Baltic Sea after it becomes operational in early 2020.

Poland, Denmark and Ukraine also oppose the project, arguing that it would increase the EU’s dependency on Russian gas and Europe should instead focus on diversifying its energy resources.

The U.S. secretary of energy said that the Nord Stream 2 project would “create a new choke point at a shallow depth vulnerable to disruption”, and called on Russia to “stop using its resources for influence and disruption”.

Novak replied by saying: “I am glad that we share the view that energy should not be used as a means of pressure, and that consumers should be able to choose the suppliers”.

Perry said that despite the disagreements between the two countries, they could work together to ensure market stability and further energy diversity.

“So as world leading energy producers, the U.S. and Russia, we have an opportunity to cooperate to ensure market’s stability and sustainability as well as increase energy diversity,” he said.

In early April, after meeting with the leaders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia at the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump criticized the Nord Stream II pipeline, saying it just was not “right”.

“Germany hooks up a pipeline into Russia, where Germany is going to be paying billions of dollars for energy into Russia. And I’m saying: What’s going on with that? How come Germany is paying vast amounts of money to Russia when they hook up a pipeline? That’s not right,” he said.

Germany, for its part, blames Washington for seeking to block the Russia-Germany gas pipeline to boost its own exports of natural gas.

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