Russia says it will double oil exports to Japan this year, invites Tokyo to join gas projects

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MOSCOW (AP) - A senior Cabinet official says Russia will double its oil exports to Japan to 18 million tons this year to help its neighbor through the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said Tuesday that Japanese companies could join Russia's Gazprom in exploring two massive gas fields, Russian news agencies reported. That includes Kovykta which contains 2 trillion cubic meters of gas.
Amid relief efforts to help the tsunami-stricken nation, Moscow has been eager to use the opportunity to boost its energy sales to Japan.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier suggested that Russia could redirect some of the liquiefied natural gas it planned to sell to Europe to Japan instead.
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