Russia Mulls Privatising Gas Distribution
Russia's energy ministry has proposed a bill that enables the privatisation of some gas distribution and consumption assets, as the country prepares to start on the next phase of its gasification programme.
The move was announced by deputy energy minister Pavel Sorokin at a meeting on the gasification of Russia's regions on February 8, held by the Federal Council, the upper house of the country's parliament. The minister explained that these assets were very expensive for the federal budget to repair and maintain. Their privatisation will ensure their proper maintenance and use by capable operators, he said.
Russia wants to increase the share of the population with access to gas from the current 70% to 83% by 2030, but the government is yet to finalise a plan for achieving this. State-owned Gazprom is not expected to cover the rubles 1.9 trillion ($25bn) cost of this gasification programme alone, but authorities have not decided yet how the company will be reimbursed.