Sechin Orders Access to Gas Pipelines

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin gave Gazprom a month to grant other gas producers greater access to its pipeline network, Kommersant reported, citing industry sources.

Sechin, also the chairman of oil producer Rosneft, ordered Gazprom and the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service to agree on a plan for "nondiscriminatory" access by Aug. 5, the newspaper said.

Independent gas producer Novatek and Russia's oil companies pump about 14 to 16 percent of the country's gas, with Gazprom producing the rest, Kommersant said. The independents' share of output would rise to 30 percent if Gazprom did not limit access to its pipelines, the newspaper said.

Gazprom has said past recommendations by anti-monopoly authorities contradict Russian legislation, Kommersant said. An easing of pipeline access would most benefit rival Rosneft, which wants to boost gas production by 2015.