KIRISHI, Russia, March 26 (UPI) -- Eastern markets will become a focal point of Russian natural gas development, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.
Putin, who is also president-elect, told regional leaders that investments and development of the natural gas sector were moving "at a good pace." Last year, he said, natural gas extraction increased 3.1 percent to a total of around 670 billion cubic meters.
"I would like to emphasize again that Russia has always been a reliable partner on the global energy markets," he said.
The Yamal Peninsula in Russia's Far East, he said, is set to become a new production center for processing of liquefied natural gas. The development of the Shtokman field in the region and the Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok pipeline is also a top priority, he added.
He cautioned, however, that while Gazprom is working on pipelines and other infrastructure, Moscow needed state programs and the necessary financial resources to proceed.
"Otherwise, this gas will stay in the pipelines," he warned.
Putin added that natural gas supplies for domestic needs and for exports this year would exceed levels reached before the onset of the global economic recession, when demand was suppressed.