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China and Russia still haggling over gas price ahead of Putin visit

Published on May 14, 2014 11:52 PM

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - China and Russia's Gazprom are making a final push to clinch a long-delayed natural gas deal but have yet to iron out price differences, a Beijing official said on Wednesday, ahead of next week's state visit by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Amid rising tensions with the West and a threat of deeper sanctions in protest at Moscow's annexation of Crimea, Putin could yet clinch the gas deal next week and reinforce his repeated assertions that Russia wants to divert some oil and gas flows from European markets towards growing Asian nations.

Gazprom generates about 80 per cent of its revenue from gas sales to Europe and has so far been only a marginal player in Asia because of a lack of eastbound pipelines and its relatively small liquefied natural gas (LNG) business.

Some analysts said they believe that a deal with China is imminent and that the two countries have probably agreed a price acceptable to both sides.

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