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Washington looking for Russian oil and gas: envoy
July 16, 203

The United States will be seeking to increase supplies of Russian oil and liquified gas during an upcoming Russian-US energy summit in Saint Petersburg, the US ambassador to Russia said Wednesday.

Seeking to wean itself from the oil-rich but unstable Middle East, the United States has been exploring alternate energy sources, including Russia's vast untapped Siberian reserves.

US energy officials will discuss developing offshore oil and gas projects on Russia's Sakhalin island and boosting imports of Russian liquified gas, US ambassador Alexander Vershbow told a conference in Sakhalin, the Interfax news agency reported.

"Russia is on the right path of carrying out reforms. We hope this will lead to increasing foreign invements and contribute to economic growth and to the country's health in general," Interfax quoted him in Russian as saying.

US and Russian energy officials will also use the mid-September summit to discuss a new oil export route through Russia's northern Murmansk port that should facilitate carrying oil to the United States, Vershbow said.

The Russian government gave its go-ahead in April for the construction of the 1,500-kilometer (930-mile) pipeline, which would connect the existing Russian network in western Siberia to Murmansk.

Russian energy giants LUKoil, Yukos, TNK, and Sibneft will then build a deep-water terminal accessible to large tankers serving the United States.

Energy Minister Igor Yusufov has said the planned pipeline could be operational in 2007-2009, or even earlier.

The new pipeline is due to have an initial capacity of 80 million tonnes of crude a year, increasing subsequently to 120 million tonnes.

US and Russian energy chiefs held their first summit in Houston, Texas last October.

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