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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Energy Delegation in Murmansk

Demonstrating the United States' intensifying interest in Russian fuel resources, a high-level U.S. Energy Department delegation on Tuesday visited Murmansk, the Barents Sea port from which Washington eventually hopes to import Russian crude.

Headed by Deputy Energy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow, the delegation traveled to Murmansk after signing a protocol with Deputy Energy Minister Oleg Gordeyev in St. Petersburg on Monday aimed at strengthening investment ties and cooperation in oil field development.

The visit is part of the groundwork being laid for the second annual U.S-Russia Energy Summit to be held in St. Petersburg Sept. 21 and 22. The first was held last year in Houston, Texas.

Energy issues are also expected to figure prominently when President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush meet at Camp David in late September, as the United States seeks to rely more on Russia and less on the Middle East for its energy needs.

The Bush administration has advocated the construction of an oil pipeline from oil-rich western Siberia to Murmansk, the country's only northern ice-free port, but private funding for the project would be necessary and the Russian government has been hesitant to cede its grip on the country's pipeline network.

U.S. and Russian officials also agreed to work together to develop environmentally friendly fuel technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cells. An exhibition of Russian technology is planned for November in Pennsylvania.