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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Will Respect Gazprom Export Law

AMSTERDAM -- The EU's top energy official said on Friday that the bloc would respect a possible Russian move to entrench Gazprom's export monopoly by law, despite previously calling on Moscow to open up the energy market.

Gazprom's top lobbyists in the State Duma have submitted a bill on gas exports which stipulates that Gazprom and its export arm, Gazexport, should be granted exclusive gas exports rights.

The Duma is expected to vote on it in June.

"The Russian parliament has all the right to decide what to put in a law. Whatever the law will be, we will respect it," EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said on the sidelines of the World Gas Conference in Amsterdam.

"We are passing out messages to the Russian government, and I believe they would pass them to parliament. But it's really a Russian decision -- whatever it will be, I will respect it," he said.

The bill says that gas should be considered a strategic material and should be exported only by Gazprom, to protect national interests.