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#9 - JRL 7065

MOSCOW, February 17, 2003. /from a RIA Novosti correspondent/. - Gazprom, the world biggest gas company, will mark its tenth anniversary on Monday.

As RIA Novosti learned in the company's press service, on February 17th, 1993 the Council of Ministers of the Russian Federation resolved to transform the Gazprom state-run company into the Russian joint-stock company which became an open joint-stock company in 1998.

Gazprom is Russia's largest public company. The total number of shareholders exceeds 500,000 with the state being the main shareholder during the past ten years. It owns 38.37% of shares.

Gazprom is the outpost of the Russian economy, the press service noted. The company accounts for 8% of industrial output in Russia and 25% of tax revenues of the Russian budget. Gazprom controls about 65% of Russia's gas deposits and 20% of the world ones. The company developed as much as 26 trln cu m of gas. Its world share in gas extraction totals 20% with that of Russia being 90%. The company owns the world's largest gas pipelines totaling over 155,000 km.

The company's porfolio of export contracts is the greatest in the world. It is the leading gas exporter. Long-term export contracts were signed for more than 2.2 trln cu m of gas. Gazprom delivers every fourth cu m of gas consumed in Europe.

During the 10 years the company extracted about 5.5 trln cu m of gas. The Gazprom senior management took firm measures to enhance gas extraction in 2001-2002. In 2002 the company's gas extraction increased by 9.9 bln cu m to reach 521.9 bln cu m for the first time during the past four years.

The company pays great attention to the development of raw material sources. In 1993-2002, 30 new deposits were discovered with 24 hydrocarbon fields being opened at old deposits. During the period the raw materials consumption outpaced resources growth. In 2002 the situation changed: hydrocarbon resources growth accounted for 535.9 bln tons of equivalent fuel.

Gazprom's priority is to develop and enhance the Russian Gas Unified System. In 1993-2002 Gazprom constructed and commissioned 15,600 km of gas pipelines and pipe-bends, and 90 compressor plants with a total capacity of 6 mln kilowatt.

Gazprom has earned the reputation of a reliable partner both in the domestic and foreign markets. During the ten years the company delivered over 2.9 trln cu m of gas to the Russia market, about 1.2 trln cu m of gas to foreign countries, over 0.6 trln cu m of gas to the CIS and Baltic countries. In 1993-2002 the company's gas export brought about 88 bln dollars to the Russian budget.

The company carried out large gas and transport projects to enhance and diversify the deliveries of the Russian gas.

In 1995 the company started to construct the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline that will link the Yamal deposit with Western Europe. In 2000 the linear pipeline portion and two compressor plants in Poland were commissioned. The construction is under way now in Belarus and Russia. The planned capacity of one branch is about 30 bln cu m of gas a year.

February 2000 witnessed the beginning of the construction of the Blue Stream main line along the Black Sea bed to deliver Russian gas to Turkey. For the first time the pipeline was placed at a depth of about 2,150 meters in aggressive hydrosulfuric environment. The Blue Stream pipeline was commissioned on December 30th, 2002.

In November 2002 Gazprom launched a new strategic project - the construction of the North European pipeline that will go through the Baltic Sea linking Vyborg and the coast of Germany. The pipeline will facilitate gas deliveries to Scandinavian countries and make gas supplies to Western Europe and Russia's North Western region more reliable.

Gazprom is considering the possibility of entering other markets, for example that of the Asia Pacific region.

The company's economic strategy provides for its greater capitalisation.

In 1995 when the Gazprom shares were first placed in the Russian Trade System the capitalisation accounted for 1.2 bln dollars. Since that time it has increased 17 times to 20.4 bln dollars in 2002.

The company is the largest tax payer. During the ten years it paid 40 bln dollars-worth of taxes.

Gazprom makes annually heavy investments to the Russian industry. The company has purchased manufactured goods and services worth more than 20 bln dollars from Russian enterprises.

Gazprom is Russia's largest investor. It allocated over 150 bln dollars for capital investments in 2002. This year the company plans to invest 179.8 bln dollars.

"The leading positions in the foreign and domestic markets will be kept and enhanced. Gazprom is a pillar of Russia's sustainable growth in the XXI century," said Alexei Miller, the Chairman of the Gazprom Board.

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