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Author`s name Dmitriy Sudakov

Russia interested in building ambitious South American gas pipeline

Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov confirmed earlier reports about Gazprom interest in the $ 25 billion project 

During a South American tour that took him to Brazil and Argentina, the Primer Minister of the Russian Federation, Mikhail Fradkov, confirmed earlier reports about Moscow interest on the largest regional energy project in decades. Speaking after a meeting with the heads of Brazilian energy companies during his visit to Brazil, Fradkov said that Russian companies could participate in the construction of a transcontinental natural gas pipeline, a project estimated to cost between $15 billion and $25 billion. He added, however, that no specific projects had been proposed yet.

According to the Russian government, Moscow could help building the natural gas pipeline ring linking Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil. The transcontinental project aims to take Venezuelan gas down south and, in a second stage, could link Chile, Bolivia and Uruguay.

Late on Thursday, Fradkov arrived in Buenos Aires, where he met, on Friday, Argentine president Nestor Kirchner. Both leaders discussed over the project, as well as other pending bilateral issues, as the Argentine recognition of the Russian Federation, as a market economy before the World Trade Organization.

Top on the agenda was the unilateral decision adopted by Buenos Aires to cut out beef supplies to Russia in an attempt to drop internal prices. Russia is the main clien of Argentine meat, and could see a shortage of this product when shipments from Argentina cease to arrive in local ports.

Fradkov's agenda included trade, investment, and cooperation in a wide range of fields, including nuclear energy, space research and IT. Argentina has reached interesting space and nuclear developments for a third world economy. IT has the capacity of building satellites and producing nuclear energy, but lacks of techonology to launch satellites or develop nuclear weapons.

Hernan Etchaleco