Despite comments from Russia's finance minister that access to pipelines would be made equal for all companies, Gazprom has said it has no plans to give up its monopoly.

Following pressure from European leaders during the G8 summit, Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin told reporters: In the future, access to export pipelines will be equal for all [companies] which win licenses to develop new fields. I am not prepared to say when that will happen, but we are readying ourselves for it.

But when asked whether the firm was prepared to allow other producers direct access to export to Europe, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said: This is not part of our plans.

Energy security has been top of the agenda during the early stages of the G8 meeting in Moscow, with member states concerned over gas supply. The Ukraine crisis in January, when a dispute over prices led to Gazprom cutting off supplies on New Year’s Day, made European countries keen to raise energy security issues with Russia.