Gazpromís Headquarters has hosted today a working meeting between Alexey Miller, Gazpromís Management Committee Chairman and Alexander Zhilkin, Governor of the Astrakhan Region.
The meeting addressed the implementation of a Cooperation Agreement between Gazprom and the Astrakhan Region, highly appreciating the progress achieved in developing the Regional gas supply infrastructure and agreeing to keep on working in this direction. In particular, the parties are intent on completing the construction of the local Travino-Nizhnekolsky-Poldnevoye with a lateral towards the settlement of Gandurino (Kamyzyak district) and Pokrovka-Pologoye Zaimishche (Akhtubinsk district) gas pipelines.
Special emphasis fell on the need to improve the Regional gas payment discipline since the Regional consumersí gas debt had grown RUR182.7 mln and another RUR189.8 mln over 2004 and by the start of 2005, respectively.
At the same time, the meeting touched upon issues relative to the foundation of a new joint business to be focused on providing the Astrakhan Regionís customers with liquefied hydrocarbon gases and refining products.
Alexey Miller and Alexander Zhilkin also debated potential setting up of a polyethylene production integrated company within the Astrakhangazpromís Astrakhan Gas Processing Plant.
Ultimately, the parties reached an accord to start developing a new Agreement planned to be signed between November and December, this year.
Gazprom and the Astrakhan Region entered into a 5-year Cooperation Agreement in November 2000.
Last year, Gazprom provided Regional customers with some 2 bcm of gas and roughly the same amount is targeted for 2005.
With intra-regional gas consumption intensified by 10.5% over 2001 to 2004, the gas supply infrastructure of the Astrakhan Region is currently developed by over 68% of maximum gas demand, including by some 82%, in cities, towns and urban settlements and about 40.9%, in rural area (The same Russia-averaged parameters account for 53%, 60% and 34.7%, respectively). Between 2003 and 2004, Gazprom allotted over RUR 788 mln to build gas supply facilities in the Region, with additional RUR 88.2 mln invested under the Companyís 2004 Capital Investments Plan to construct and bring on stream the 2nd line of the Leninsk-Znamensk-Akhtubinsk gas main.
The Astrakhan Regionís consumersí gas debt exceeded RUR 528 mln, as of 1 February 2005, with Astrakhanenergo (some RUR334 mln), the population (over RUR80 mln) and utility companies (over RUR68 mln) being the largest gas debtors. In 2004, gas deliveries were paid up at 80.1%.
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