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National market should be a priority for Gazprom – Putin

February 21, 2013, 23:54 UTC+3

He called on the company to build up gasification of Russian regions

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MOSCOW, February 21 (Itar-Tass) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that domestic Russian market should always be a priority for Gazprom. It called on the gas monopoly to build up the pace of Russia’s gasification.

In his speech at an event devoted to Gazprom’s 20th anniversary, Putin said uninterrupted gas exports were not the only task for Gazprom.

“I would like to remind you that our consumers, our domestic Russian consumers also pay a proportionate price for gas. They have the right to count on reliable gas supply. The internal national market should always be a number one priority for you. The same is true of the interests of our citizens, industrialists and business,” Putin stressed in his speech.

He added that in recent years Gazprom had provided gas supply to 3,000 villages and settlements. He called on the company to build up gasification of Russian regions.

“Naturally, a considerable part of this work lies on Russian regions. But this work and its end result largely determine the quality of life in each part of Russia, just everywhere on its vast territory,” the president emphasized.

He explained that today working for the benefit of Russia meant more than contributions to the state budget for solving strategic development tasks.

“Your mission is much broader,” the president stressed.

“Gazprom has many future projects that are supposed to change the disposition of forces on the global energy market. They include the exploration of Yamal and the Arctic shelf. You should also expand Russia’s presence in external trade grounds,” Putin said.

He noted that the company’s short-term plans included the construction of the Siberian Force cross-country gas pipeline from Yakutia and the creation of a unified gas supply system in the east of Russia.

“The solution of these tasks will require the organization of new production capacities and the introduction of advanced technologies and innovative equipment. That should lead to the creation of new modern jobs and organization of small and mid-size enterprises, including in the production sector. It means that people will get new opportunities to work and create their own business,” Putin said.

Putin also remembered Viktor Chernomyrdin and Victor Vyakhirev, who were Gazprom’s founding fathers.

“I am sure that Gazprom will exert every effort to increase its global competitiveness, fulfill the assigned tasks and successfully implement its projects,” Putin said.

The president also announced that a large group of Gazprom employees would receive state awards and honorary titles at a reception in the Kremlin on Friday.

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