The Russian government will closely follow developments at the European offices of gas export monopoly Gazprom, which were searched last week by the European Union, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday.
"The Russian government will keep a watchful eye on what is happening around Gazprom. I am asking you to report to me on this in time," Putin told Gazprom head Alexei Miller, who said that Gazprom would defend its legitimate interests during the checks.
Last week EU authorities raided Gazprom facilities active in the supply, pumping and storage of natural gas in European Union member states. The European Commission believes the companies might have been engaged in anticompetitive practices in breach of EU antitrust rules or had information relating to such practices.
Gazprom has said it had not been informed about the checks but was ready to provide assistance.
Miller also told Putin that Russia's Nord Stream pipeline project, intended to bring Russian gas to Europe on the bed of the Baltic Sea, would be launched on November 8.
The $11 billion Nord Stream project includes two roughly parallel pipelines with an overall annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters. The pipeline, which would bypass Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other transit energy states, is expected to be completed in 2012.
"We could consider creating additional pipelines within the already created corridor. The building of the first pipeline is ended, precommissioning and the pipeline's filling with gas are under way," Miller said.