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June 20, 2007

Petronas in talks with Gazprom, Rosneft for energy projects in Russia
National oil company Petronas is in talks with giant corporations Gazprom and Rosneft to venture into sizeable energy projects in Russia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said June 20.

He said the discussion might lead to some partnership agreements but declined to elaborate on the matter.

"What they have told me was that they are going to enter into is a very worthwhile investment. Big," he told a news conference after speaking at a Malaysia-Russia Business Forum in Kuala Lumpur.

Reports said that Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev had travelled to Kuala Lumpur earlier this month, where he signed initial agreement with Petronas to cooperate in energy projects worldwide.

Petronas bought US$1.1 billion worth of Rosneft stock in the company's initial public offering in July last year.

The Prime Minister said Russian businessmen had so far shown interest in rubber-based products in Malaysia and there was also cooperation among several Malaysian and Russian companies in the construction business and in the field of education.

Speaking at the forum earlier, Abdullah said Malaysia and Russia are now working towards establishing an Investment Guarantee Agreement in their effort to expand bilateral trade and investment.

"We need the agreement to provide a certain level of comfort for our investors to deal with each other.

"My hope is that we can finalise this agreement quickly so as to encourage greater flows of investment between Malaysia and Russia," he said.

The Prime Minister also expressed hope that Malaysian business houses would view Russia as an important transshipment hub to other countries in Eastern Europe by working together with Russian partners.

At the same time Russian companies could look at increasing their sourcing from Malaysia as the country produces a wide variety of quality products and services.

The two countries, said Abdullah could also explore the potential for cooperation in information communications technology and the aerospace industry.

He said Malaysia was also doing well in the infrastructure for the commercial and industrial sector, while Russia was rich in scientific and technological resources.

"There is clearly much scope for creating smart partnerships and thereby increase investments between our two countries," he said.

At the forum, Abdullah also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the LimKokWing University of Malaysia and five Russian state universities and a memorandum of understanding between Malaysian company, Muhibah Engineering, and a Russian partner.

Among areas covered under the deal are internet creativity and security digital imaging for forensic and surgical operations, industry design and multimedia cooperations.

Abdullah said he was happy with the outcome of the visit to Russia. The prime minister will leave for Bosnia tomorrow for a two-day official visit. Bernama

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