Gazprom has officially opened a giant Arctic gas field, underscoring the monopoly's readiness to supply gas to Europe, as well as its reticence to expand past its traditional production base. Zapolyarnoye - with reserves estimated at 3.3 trillion cubic meters - is the first field of its kind to become operational since the fall of the Soviet Union. When Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller took the helm in June, he said putting the field into operation was his top priority. At maximum, the field is planned to provide about 100 billion cubic meters of gas a year, much of which will compensate declines expected at Gazprom's older fields. In 1992, Gazprom produced 602.7 billion cubic meters. This year it expects to pump 520 billion cubic meters, a 16-percent decrease, the St. Petersburg Times wrote.
Putin's Annual Address to the Federal Assembly is scheduled for September 30. Kremlin sources say it will become even more historic and globally important than his 2014 speech