Today, at Gazprom's Headquarters, Alexey Miller, Gazprom's Management Committee Chairman and Viktor Maslov, Head of the Smolensk Region's Administration signed a 5-year Cooperation Agreement.
The parties emphasized that due to the considerable progress achieved in building up the Smolensk Regionís gas infrastructure, gas deliveries to Regional consumers had exceeded over the past few years Russia-averaged parameters . From 2002 to 2003, Gazprom earmarked RUR 48.8 million for the gas distribution network construction and the Company plans to invest in 2004 RUR 54.2 million for developing the Smolensk Region's gas supply infrastructure.
Under the Agreement signed today, Gazprom and the Smolensk Regionís major businesses will be as follows:
- Expanding gas deliveries to municipalities;
- Providing stable gas deliveries to the population and state-financed bodies;
- Developing capacities for using liquefied and compressed gas as motor fuel;
- Developing and introducing gas saving technologies;
- Ensuring environmental safety and rational nature management;
- Devising and implementing a program on the gas consumption measurement accuracy enhancement at commercial gas measurement stations;
- Developing a comprehensive automated gas consumption and quality measurement system based on the existing gas measurement units applied by gas transmission and distribution companies and in the industrial and residential sectors;
- Implementing housing building programs intended for Gazpromís current and retired employees re-settled from the Extreme North.
According to the Agreement, the Smolensk Regionís Administration took the commitment to make full payments for current and previous gas deliveries effected to state-financed bodies and to thoroughly offset Gazpromís losses arisen in granting natural gas subsidies to eligible consumer categories. In addition, the Regional authorities will assist Gazprom in receiving timely gas payments from the consumers paying for gas deliveries out of self-run budgets.
At the same time, the Regional Administration will timely regulate, within its authority, retail consumer gas prices, approve differentiated household gas prices and contribute to setting the population's gas consumption norms in accordance with the existing gas demand.
The Smolensk Region is planned to be furnished with payment and settlement centers as well as with an integrated fuel and energy payment processing system. Special gas transmission tariff additions (coordinated with gas distribution companies) to be channeled for funding gas supply programs will be introduced, as well.
Gazprom, in its turn, assumes the responsibility to provide secure gas deliveries to Regional consumers, taking into consideration the production capacities of the United Gas Transmission System, solvent demand and consumersí gas payment ratio.
Gazprom and the Smolensk Region first signed a 5-year Cooperation Agreement in February 1999.
Natural gas deliveries to the Regional residential sector have grown 3.6% since 1999 and, as of 1 January 2004, reached 55.6% against the Russia-averaged parameter of 52.7%.
In 2003, Gazprom provided the Smolensk Region with over 2.8 bcm of natural gas, 8% up on the target.
DIVISION OF RELATIONS WITH MASS MEDIA