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Gazprom plans to connect West Siberian, Far Eastern gas pipeline systems — Putin

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia will easily switch gas streams to the east in case there are "any difficulties in Europe"

VLADIVOSTOK, September 2. /TASS /. Gazprom has started to work on the unification of the West Siberian and Far Eastern gas transportation systems, which will give new opportunities for export, as well as development of gas transportation network of the Far East, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with investors at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).

"Gazprom has plans to connect Western Siberian sources, fields and our gas transportation system with the system that is developing in the Far East. This is not about plans, they really begin to design this work." Putin said.

He attributed this work to "internal needs of the Far Eastern regions", and "with a desire of Gazprom "to expand its export market."

"If there are any difficulties in Europe, we will easily switch (gas) streams to the East," Putin said. 

Speaking about the poor developed gas transportation network in the Far East, Putin said that the problem "emerged not yesterday but much earlier," and "goes back to the Soviet times."

As a result, he said, in the Primorsky region the level of gas network development is 0.1%, while the average level for Russia is 66.7%.

In the cities of the Primorsky region gas network development reached 0.2% while the average level for Russian cities is 70%, the president said, adding in rural areas of the region gas network is absent.

"So the problem that needs a solution has no quick solution, but there are plans (how to solve it -TASS)," Putin said.

He said that these plans concern the development of gas fields on Sakhalin and the use of the Power of Siberia pipeline.

Putin said that a subsidiary of Gazprom responsible for the development of gas network in the region has already offered a plan.

"It is planned, as I know, that before 2020 changes should be noticeable," the head of state said.

In his turn, the head of the Energy Ministry Alexander Novak said that according to that program, in 2016-2020, 11 pipelines with a total length of about 164 km will be built. This work should be carried out simultaneously with the development of the Sakhalin fields, the minister said.