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Russia Opens Gazprom's Doors To Foreign Investors

Construction work begins on the Baltic Sea pipeline being laid by a Gazprom joint venture, December 2005 (epa) 29 December 2005 -- Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has signed a government measure lifting restrictions on foreign stock ownership in the state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom.

Fradkov signed the resolution on 28 December. This is the much-anticipated final step in the process of opening up the world's largest gas producer to foreign investors.

Gazprom supplies about half of the European Union's gas imports. Until now, foreigners had been restricted to purchasing a limited number of shares that trade on overseas exchanges at a hefty premium.