In 2002, Russia's resources of production-grade natural gas increased by 1.1 trillion cubic metres. This is according to what Alexei Khitrov, the head of Russia's agency for hydrocarbons, uranium, and solid fossil fuels, said yesterday while speaking at a staff meeting of the Ministry of Natural Resources. Mr. Khitrov explained that such an impressive success had been made possible by the toughening of licensing conditions concerning geological survey. Besides', he said, 'high oil prices in 2002 helped oil companies to accumulate additional revenues so they had money to pay for more prospecting'.
According to information afforded by Russia's agency for hydrocarbons, uranium, and solid fossil fuels, the growth of new resources by 25% over extraction 'was achieved due to prospecting done by Gazprom gas company, Russia's largest, in the northern parts of the Yamal Peninsula.' Mr. Khitrov noted that just 2 years ago, when issuing a license to Gazprom for developing these areas had been discussed, the company itself had had doubts as to the feasibility of this work. However, new resources amounting to 200 billion cubic metres of production-grade gas have now been found there.