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Clause 2 — Addition to list of treaties

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 30th January 2008.

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Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner 6:15 pm, 30th January 2008

I begin by apologising to Mr. Francois for missing his opening remarks, but I shall read them in tomorrow's Hansard with interest.

My hon. Friend Mike Gapes made some comments about Russia's relationship with the EU. In that connection, may I say that I appreciate the speech that Charles Hendry made when he wound up the earlier debate? It was both sensible and wise.

Russia is a major power. When we are talking about Gazprom, as various hon. Members have this afternoon, we are dealing with the interdependence of the EU and Russia in the energy market. It is an open market, in which buyers and sellers—producers and consumers—operate at arm's length from each other, but the following facts should be borne in mind. For example, in 2003, 58 per cent. of Russian oil exports were to the EU, as were 88 per cent. of its total natural gas exports. In addition, 22 per cent. of total net EU oil imports in 2003 came from Russia, representing 16 per cent. of all European oil consumption—that is, by members states and others. Finally, 32 per cent. of Europe's gas imports in 2003 came from Russia, representing 19 per cent. of total gas consumption by member states. Those figures show that we need to be a little cautious when we castigate Gazprom, and Russia's relations with the EU as a whole.

Earlier, the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton talked about what I call the Bavarian question. That is, if there is a shortage in Bavaria, will liquefied natural gas on its way to Milford Haven from Qatar be diverted to Bavaria? If that is the case, I assure the House that Gazprom will be there much quicker.