Gazprom not to cut investment program

A maximum level for an increase in gas rates in 2003 is 20 percent, however, it does not mean that Gazprom's investment program will be cut, Economy Minister German Gref declared at an Internet press conference today. He stressed figures that reflect the company's profitability from activities on the domestic market were cunning. The natural monopoly will always find additional production expenses that Gazprom would like to include in gas rates, he specified.

At the same time, Gref said that the gas giant agreed to this level. According to Gazprom experts, gas export prices will be about $95 for every 1,000 cubic meters. So, the investment program is not to be cut, he stressed.

The Russian government is planning to approve Gazprom's investment program by the end of the first quarter of 2003.

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