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Russia completing talks on gas supplies to Ukraine, Baltics

 Russia is completing talks on natural gas supplies until 2011 to Ukraine and the Baltic states and hopes to avoid problems on New Year's eve, a first deputy prime minister said Tuesday.

"We are in the concluding stage of talks with our partners," Dmitry Medvedev, who is also board chairman of the Russian energy giant Gazprom, said at a news briefing at RIA Novosti.

"So far, the talks have been proceeding without any surprises, and I hope we will not have any problems on New Year's eve, like in the past," he said.

Medvedev also said Russia will not export natural gas from the Sakhalin-1 project until demand in East Siberia and Russia's Far East has been fully satisfied.

Sakhalin-1 project is run under a 1996 production sharing agreement. Exxon Neftegas Limited holds a 30% stake in the Sakhalin-1 production sharing agreement. The other shareholders are state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft (20%), India's ONGC (20%) and Japan's Sodeco (30%).

"As long as we ensure gasification of our regions [Siberia and Far East], we will start exporting excess of natural gas," Medvedev said. "It is quite reasonable."

RIA Novosti

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