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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Delinquent Regions Owe Gazprom $2Bln

The regions owe Gazprom 63 billion rubles ($2 billion) for gas, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said Thursday.

“If this goes on, the number may grow to be quite large by the end of the year,” Zubkov, who also chairs Gazprom’s board of directors, told Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during a meeting of the Presidium. Regions that “can pay, should pay,” Zubkov said, adding that regional leaders are not always aware of the problem.

Gazprom and its wholly owned subsidiary Mezhregiongaz, which handles domestic sales, declined to comment on the debt. Gazprom has said the level of debt for gas supplied to Russian customers is increasing because of the global financial crisis.

Russian customers owed Gazprom 71.4 billion rubles for gas at the end of last year, up 27 percent from 56.1 billion rubles a year earlier, Gazprom said.

Also at the meeting, Putin said the country must invest 662 billion rubles ($21 billion) to 2020 on water-related projects including irrigation, water treatment and efficiency of water use.

While the quality of the country’s water was improved in many respects, water infrastructure still lags behind that of other countries in factors such as reservoir capacity.

(Bloomberg, MT)