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Russia: Limits Placed On Foreign Investment In Gazprom

Moscow, 15 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Russian government today decided that not more than nine percent of the shares in Russian gas giant Gazprom will be open to foreigners.

Viktor Chernomyrdin, who chaired the meeting, told senior government officials that access of foreigners to Gazprom shares will be strictly limited. Chernomyrdin is former head of the company.

Chief Gazprom executive Rem Vyakhirev outlined the company's restructuring plans. Vyakhirev said that Gazprom planned to concentrate on production, transport and sales of natural gas, shedding construction,social infrastructure, research and agricultural spin-offs. Vyakhirev said that the restructuring could cost up to 100,000 jobs and will save the company 2.2 trillion roubles ($380 million).

Vyakhirev also said that Turkey was set to become Russia's second biggest gas customer after Germany with imports rising up to 30,000 million cubic meters per year. As another potential project Vyakhirev mentioned a pipeline to Europe via Finland.