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Gazprom could reduce natural gas production
Gazprom could reduce natural gas production by 3% in 2008 due to possible lower consumption caused by the expected warmer winter, a senior official at the Russian energy giant said on Friday.

"Consumption could be cut by around 15-18 billion cubic meters of a planned target of 560 billion cubic meters," said Valery Golubev, deputy head of the management committee.

He added that natural gas demand was expected to fall among both Russian and European consumers.

Gazprom has submitted a request to the government to provide 100 billion rubles ($3.6 billion) for electricity projects in 2009, Golubev said.

"The commitments facing Gazprom stand at some 100 billion rubles, with the bulk of them concerning [territorial power generator] TGK-1," Valery Golubev said.

The Gazprom official said the gas monopoly would look for other sources of borrowing if the government failed to provide the funds.

"The investment program for electricity development is a federal program. It was initially expected to be financed by power generators, but the stated sum was so high that they have failed to attract funds," Golubev said.

The energy giant will also invest some 80 billion rubles ($2.9 billion) in the construction of land segments of the Nord Stream pipeline being built under the Baltic Sea jointly with Germany's E.ON and BASF in 2009, Golubev said.

Golubev assured reporters that Gazprom would not slash funding for gas projects in Russian regions, which stood at some 24 billion rubles ($858 million) in 2008.

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