President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Alexei Borisovich, Gazprom has been working intensively on gasification, on connecting people to the gas network, for three years now in accordance with a special programme.
I would like this programme to continue. I would like to hear from you now about the state of progress, your future plans and what still needs to be done, including within the framework of the agreements between Gazprom and the regions. This is a joint programme and we have specially examined it several times. What still needs to be done?
Chairman of The Board of Gazprom Alexei Miller: Dmitry Anatolyevich, Gazprom expanded its gasification programme activities this year. We are currently working in 64 of the country’s regions. In 2007, we worked in 58 regions, and in 2005, when we began, we were working in 25 regions. New expansion has been mostly in the Far East and Eastern Siberia. In particular, the gasification programme has been extended to Krasnoyarsk Region, Khabarovsk Region, Sakhalin Region, and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
Last year, we reached a gasification level of 62 percent for the country as a whole. We plan to have another 1.7 million homes and apartments and more than 400 new settlements connected to the gas network by the end of 2008. This will bring gas to more than 4.5 million people this year.
Spending on the programme is up this year on last year. We see that domestic demand for gas continues to grow and this trend, which emerged 3–4 years ago, is holding steady. Gazprom’s investment programme therefore gives priority to the domestic market. We plan to take the gasification level to 64 percent for the country as a whole by the end of the year, with 69 percent in towns and town-type settlements, and 46 percent in rural areas.
The gasification work will continue in coordination with the other national projects, and rural areas will remain the priority.
Financing for Gazprom’s investment programme will increase in 2009 and we will therefore be able to maintain the pace of gasification work that we have kept up over these last four years.
[Mr Miller went on to report on problems with the gasification programme’s implementation in some regions.]
We will report to you on the results for the gasification programme’s implementation over 2008. Gazprom will do all it can over the time that remains this year to get the regions currently lagging behind up to the required level and ensure that our plans for the year are fulfilled.
Dmitry Medvedev: Good. Work then on the regions where the pace is still falling short. If administrative decisions or organisational measures are required, they will be taken. People should not have to suffer because of sluggish authorities in certain regions. I want you to pay particular attention to the situation in the Far East. Only fairly recently has it become possible to bring gas to this region, but the conditions for this are all in place now and a number of recent decisions aim precisely at this work. You therefore need to work on bringing gas to the remotest parts of the country.