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Monday, April 17, 2006

Gazprom needs larger capitalization for rural gas projects

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKI, April 16 (RIA Novosti, Oksana Guseva) - Russian natural gas giant Gazprom (RTS ticker GAZP) needs to raise its capitalization to develop gas infrastructure in regions, a senior executive said Sunday. Chairman of the Gazprom Board of Directors Dmitry Medvedev said the growth of the company's capitalization would help Gazprom channel some of its revenues into efforts to create a network of gas pipelines, especially in rural areas. "The larger the capitalization of Gazprom, the broader possibilities we have to develop the country's gas infrastructure," said Medvedev who is also the country's first deputy prime minister. Medvedev said the development of the country's gas infrastructure was an important national project that would benefit 11-12 million people living in 53 regions of Russia. "Therefore, we'll be able to improve considerably the life of citizens, especially people living in rural areas. Gas is a new quality of life for rural dwellers enabling them to run their farms, produce agricultural products and simply to live normally," Medvedev said. According to Medvedev, just four or five years ago when Gazprom cost $10 billion no one could believe that the company's capitalization would rise to $230 billion. "Naturally, this is the result of shareholders' consistent work, especially the work of the state as the company's key shareholder," Medvedev said. The first deputy prime minister also said the growth of Gazprom's capitalization would also push up the share prices of other companies, especially high-tech operators.

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