Cooperation in the energy sector is among key priorities of Russia-EU relations. Russia is the world's largest gas exporter and competes with Saudi Arabia and the United States as the largest producer and exporter of oil. The EU is the primary consumer of Russian energy resources. The parties maintain interest in enhancing mutually beneficial energy cooperation which would contribute to strengthening energy security of both sides, establishing fair rules for functioning of energy markets and greater predictability of these markets.
The most important component of Russia-EU cooperation in this area is creating conditions for uninterrupted supply of energy resources to EU markets. For these purposes a Memorandum on an Early-Warning Mechanism was signed in 2009 at the Russia-EU Summit in Stockholm setting out modalities of joint work on crisis prevention and crisis management in the field of energy supplies with the participation of transit countries (the Memorandum was updated in February 2011). Obviously, stable supplies of energy resources which satisfy the level of demand can only be guaranteed with an appropriate transport infrastructure in place. To develop such infrastructure both Russia and the EU intend to construct a number of new pipelines, including gas pipelines, to meet future demand and ensure better energy security of Europe. They include, in particular, the Nord Stream gas pipeline, the planned Turkish Stream gas pipeline, TANAP and TAP pipelines as part of the EU South Energy Corridor, etc. The Russian side calls not to politicise construction of gas pipelines and proceeds from the need to focus on primarily economic feasibility and risks when considering the projects. Russia also considers it necessary to work out a special regulation for critical energy infrastructure, since the rules of the EU Third Energy Package discourage investors from constructing such large-scale and costly pan-European projects.