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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Says Russia Willing to Accept Rubles for Gas Sales

BEIJING — Moscow is not against the idea of selling gas for rubles to Beijing, after clinching a deal to supply China with 70 billion cubic meters of the fuel a year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Putin, speaking to reporters during a visit to Beijing, said Russia would be happy to pay in yuan for Chinese goods.

"We don't oppose possible sales of our energy resources for rubles," he said about the deal with China. 
Currently, the dollar is the main currency in international trade

Big oil-producing nations denied a British newspaper report earlier this month that Gulf Arab states were in secret talks with Russia, China, Japan and France to replace the dollar with a basket of currencies in trading oil. 
Russia has long called for less global dependence on the dollar and has reduced the share of the U.S. currency in its $400 billion reserves to less than 50 percent.

With China, Russia has called for discussion on the possibility of creating a new supranational reserve unit, based on the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), although officials admit that any such process would take years.

Russia and China pledged to work towards settling more bilateral trade in rubles and yuan when their leaders met in Moscow in June. 
The dollar showed little immediate reaction to Putin's comments.

On Tuesday, state-run gas giant Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) struck a preliminary agreement to supply China with about 70 billion cubic meters of gas per year. 
Gazprom is to ship gas to China from western and eastern Siberia as well as from the Russian Far East, including Sakhalin.

Putin said Russia will start by supplying China with 10 to 15 billion cubic metres of gas from western Siberia.

"Gas will be delivered through two routes, as we planned: a bit more, 38 bcm, from west [Siberia] and 30 bcm from east," he said. "This is for the final stage. We speak about 10 to 15 bcm from the western direction at the first stage."

The gas deliveries could begin in 2014 or 2015, while pricing issues could be decided at the start of 2010. Putin said the prices may be pegged to a basket of oil cost.