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Russia Safe for Foreign Energy Firms, Gazprom Says

Russia is a safe country for foreign energy companies to make investments and doesn’t use natural-gas prices for political purposes, the deputy chairman of energy giant Gazprom said in an exclusive interview on CNBC’s "Closing Bell."

Russia will let other companies export natural gas on the same terms as Gazprom starting in 2011, Alexander Medvedev told host Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday.

“The basic principle will be in place that will allow independent producers to invest more and more in gas production,” he said. “In respect to the openness of our oil and gas sector, I could give you several examples of successful cooperation,” Medvedev added, citing collaboration with companies such as Germany’s BASF, Italy’s Eni SpA and California-based Chevron . (See the entire interview in the video at left.)

He rejected as “very naïve” the idea that Gazprom has used its position as the world’s largest natural-gas producer to influence European politics.

“Our prices in natural gas are based on special formulas which include oil-products prices,” he said. “We’re neither responsible for, nor the beneficiary of, the so-called price increase.”

Medvedev also denied that his company—which is majority-owned by the Russia state—is an “instrument of the Kremlin.”

Countries such as Canada and Norway have also maintained some control over energy firms following privatization, he said.

Gazprom, the world’s third-largest company by market capitalization with a value of $366 billion, plans to spend some $30 billion a year to meet global energy demand.

Medvedev spoke to "Closing Bell" via satellite from Montreal, where the company signed its first North American deal earlier this month: Gazprom is teaming with Canadian firms Gaz Metro and Enbridge, along with Gaz de France, to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in Levis, Quebec. The $840 million project is expected to start receiving shipments starting 2014.

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