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Russia says Gazprom, China close to gas agreement

Published on Apr 9, 2014 6:02 PM

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russia's Gazprom and China may sign a landmark gas deal next month, a Russian official said on Wednesday, marking some progress in a long-stalled agreement that would boost Moscow's efforts to turn eastwards away from Western sanctions.

The gas supply deal is the Holy Grail for Moscow after at least 10 years of talks, and if signed would mark a victory for President Vladimir Putin who has warned the West that attempts to isolate Russia over its annexation of Crimea would backfire.

Mr Arkady Dvorkovich, a deputy prime minister, was quoted as saying during a visit to China that Gazprom and China were close to reaching agreement, paving the way for the construction of a pipeline to carry 38 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year.

"Regarding Gazprom's gas contract, the sides are close to agreement ... The only issue remaining is ... the price," he was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency, adding that both sides planned to discuss contract details on Wednesday.

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