At the 20th World Energy Congress opened in Rome on Sunday, Russia presents a unitary stand for the first time. Gazprom announced in the early part of the Congress that through long term contracts it wants to cover almost a third of the European market.

Experts consider that the plans are exaggerated and lead to a clear internal deficit in Russia, daily Nezavissimaya Gazeta reads, quoted by Romanian monitoring agency Rador.

The current energetic forum allows Gazprom to reaffirm its ambitions as it consolidates the positions abroad.

According to the plans presented for 2007, Gazprom plans to deliver, through long term contracts, some 147 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the European Union member states.

Experts however doubt that Gazprom can manage to achieve its great ambitions in Europe while simultaneously maintaining the Russian internal deliveries stable.

An analyst for Troika Dialog, Valeri Nesterov says that Russia holds vast natural gas reserves estimated at 48 trillion cubic meters and all existent strategies are targeted at increasing the gas extractions.

Moreover, he adds that the long term contracts will help Gazprom as the new exploitations need higher investments in the infrastructure.

However, RusEnergy company analyst Mihail Krutihin says that by 2015 Russia’s extraction volume cannot increase.

He declared that Russia can fall into a deficit of almost 10-15 billion cubic meters.

Russian scientific personnel argue that in eight years time, the natural gas demand in the European Union will not exceed 179 billion cubic meters. Considering the fact that at present Europe exports some 168 billion cubic meters, the difference is substantial.