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Putin Says Gazprom Will Retain Monopoly

President Putin (right) and Gazprom CEO Miller (left) had strong words for European gas customers (epa) June 13, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that natural-gas giant Gazprom will not give up its monopoly on gas transport.

Speaking at an international economic forum in St. Petersburg, Putin said Russia does not foresee any change in this area in the near future.

European countries that are heavily dependent on Russian gas have pressed Moscow to allow foreign access to Russian gas pipelines.

Meanwhile, Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller warned Europe that it should be prepared to pay more for Russian gas as competition for energy resources rises around the world.

Miller said Gazprom will use this situation to diversify its energy exports, particularly to China.

(AFP, Reuters)

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