(Corrects figure in para six - 200 million tonnes, not 2,000)
KEMEROVO, Russia, Aug 27 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russian energy companies should expand their export infrastructure and seek new markets for their products, including coal, with China seen as particularly important.
Speaking at a meeting with government officials and top managers of energy companies, Putin also said rivalry on global energy markets has heated up.
“The current business environment allows for Russia to expand its exposure to the global coal market, to strengthen its position and raise its market share,” Putin said at a meeting in Siberian city of Kemerovo, one of Russia’s coal mining centres.
Russia is the world’s third largest coal exporter and is seeking to double coal exports to Asia by 2025.
Speaking at the same meeting, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that Russia plans to produce around 420 million tonnes of coal this year, surpassing a Soviet record high.
Coal exports stand at around 200 million tonnes - equally split between both Western and Eastern directions, Novak said.
Russia has the capacity to increase its market share of the global coal market, although the Russian coal industry should take care not to harm the environment when expanding, Putin added. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin Writing by Tom Balmforth Editing by Andrey Ostroukh and Kirsten Donovan)