German energy companies E.ON and Wintershall understand that the time has come when countries in Europe will have to compete for Russian gas with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Reiner Hartmann, head of the E.ON Ruhrgas Moscow office, said at an energy forum in Moscow last Tuesday that European countries are no longer the only buyers of Russian gas, and are now in competition with China, India and the US. At the same time he noted that Gazprom can supply gas to all markets, but at the moment is investing in additional supply routes to Europe. Interfax quoted him as saying that this shows that although Europe will remain Russia’s gas partner, it should take this competition into consideration. He also called for the continuation of the practice of signing long-term contracts for gas supplies, as the cost of gas on the spot market can increase significantly at given moments, which creates the threat of instability in energy supplies.