Vladimir Putin: Coal Industry's Worst Problem is Disproportion between Prices of Gas and Coal

Speaking today at a session of Russia's State Council held at the Raspadskaya coalmine in the Kemerovo Region, President Putin said, 'The worst problem of the coal industry is the existing disproportion between the prices of gas and coal'.

According to the President's press service, Mr. Putin explained that gas was much cheaper than coal, which is not typical for Europe. He expressed his hope that the disproportion, being a temporary phenomenon, would be evened up. 'However', the President further said, 'this evening up can not and should not happen fast, but on the whole is justified'.

Mr. Putin noticed that Russia had much less gas than coal so the use of coal assured energy stability. He said it was necessary to fully analyse and asses the potential consumption of fuel, both domestic and foreign, and consider the result of this analysis when developing energy-related strategies. The analysis, the President said, should be done by November 2002.

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