Alexander Ryazanov, Deputy Board Chairman of Gazprom, Russia's gas giant, said in an interview with RIA Novosti that Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan should pursue a coordinated gas policy within their single economic space.
"I believe our countries (above all Russia and Kazakhstan) stand to gain from selling natural gas at the highest possible prices. They should therefore take common approaches and pursue coordinated policies in this sphere," said Mr Ryazanov.
Mr Ryazanov pointed to "agreements on maintaining a gas balance of the countries within the single economic space." "There must be enough gas for the domestic market and enough, but not too much gas, for exports as we can otherwise ruin the market," said Mr Ryazanov.
Mr Ryazanov believes that Europe wants (under the pretext of free competition) countries to sell natural gas independently, which is not beneficial for gas exporters.
"When consumers can choose who to buy gas from they keep forcing prices down," indicated Mr Ryazanov. "We need a coordinated policy, something we only benefit from," he added.
Russia and Kazakhstan are not super-rich countries and they therefore seek to earn as much as possible on every thousand cubic metres of natural gas sold, according to Mr Ryazanov.
"Once we have created a single economic space, we will profit from selling products, we will be able to develop, moving together to other markets," said Mr Ryazanov.
Mr Ryazanov said Kazakhstan possessed huge gas reserves while its domestic gas consumption was rather insignificant. "Prospects for gas production in Kazakhstan are great," Mr Ryazanov said, adding that the republic could boost gas production to 25 billion cubic metres in 2010-2012 in Gazprom's estimates.
"Kazakhstan's planned gas production figures really impress," noted Mr Ryazanov. "Kazakhstan may emerge as a major natural gas exporter if the figures are confirmed," he added.
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