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13.10.2011

Putin Ends China Trip With No Gas Deal

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin left China Wednesday after a visit that yielded $7 billion in trade pacts but no breakthrough on a long-delayed gas deal with the world's top energy consumer.

Putin held talks with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao in Beijing on his first foreign trip since he announced plans to reclaim the Russian presidency.

Russia is the world's largest producer of energy, and Putin said progress had been made on a 30-year deal to pump gas to China that was signed in 2009 but has been mired in disagreements over pricing.

"We are close to the final stage of work on gas supplies to the Chinese market," Putin told journalists Tuesday of the agreement.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said Wednesday the two countries were "standing on the threshold of gas delivery agreements," Russia's Interfax news agency reported.

"We are conducting normal, routine work that will end with the signature of a contract -- of that I am certain," Interfax quoted Sechin, who is responsible for the Russian energy sector, as saying.

The agreement could eventually see almost 70 billion cubic metres of Russian gas sent to China annually over the 30-year period.

A spokesman for China's foreign ministry also said negotiations on the deal, between Russian gas giant Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation, would continue.

Copyright 2011, GEW. All rights reserved.

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