Russian state gas giant Gazprom has issued an uncompromising statement to western Europe against interfering in the firm's desire to enter the downstream energy market.

<p>Gazprom warned against the politicization of energy supply following discussions between the firm&#0039;s CEO Alexei Miller and EU ambassadors.<br /><br />It is necessary to note that attempts to limit Gazprom&#0039;s activities in the European market and politicize questions of gas supply, which in fact are of an entirely economic nature, will not lead to good results, the statement read.<br /><br />The controversial state-owned oil and gas giant also suggested that, should its relationship with Europe sour over political issues, it would have little hesitation in focusing its expansion on other areas of major energy consumption, such as China.<br /><br />Gazprom&#0039;s thinly veiled threats are being interpreted by many as a response to rumors that the UK government is examining how to block a potential Gazprom bid for the British energy player Centrica. <br /><br />Recently Gazprom has openly admitted its desire to move into the downstream section of the value chain in western Europe as it looks to diversify its operations, with an entry into the Italian transmission sector also thought to be a possibility.<br /><br />However, despite recent moves to liberalize its corporate structure, concerns remain about Gazprom&#0039;s close ties to the Kremlin, and many European states are guarded over the prospect of becoming overly dependent on Russian gas imports following the Ukraine dispute at the start of 2006.</p>