Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The board of directors at Russian gas giant Gazprom said Wednesday they approved of a new budget plan with $13.6 billion in capital investments.
The board of directors said it approved of the investment program and financial plan for 2018. Total capital investments for the year total $13.6 billion, with a little more than half of that going toward long-term financial investments.
"The adopted financial plan will provide for a full coverage of Gazprom's liabilities without a deficit," the company stated.
Gazprom's 2018 plan includes a variety of gas transmission pipelines, notably the Power of Siberia line for China and the doubling of the twin Nord Stream network crossing the Baltic Sea to the shores of Germany.
Gazprom secured the contracts necessary for the construction phase of the expansion to the Nord Stream network in early December. The announcement followed a merger between German energy company Wintershall, which is party to the Nord Stream project, and DEA, an entity formed by Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Fridman.
Russian ambitions in the European energy sector face challenges from a European Commission wary of the anti-trust practices of Gazprom and from a United States eager to capitalize on its natural gas reserves by tapping the European market.
Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller said total production for the first eight months of the year was 20.1 percent higher than last year. In terms of the origin, the Yamal Peninsula in the far Arctic north of Russia is its main production center.
Miller said the "cornerstone" of Gazprom's strategy was efforts in Eastern markets. Gazprom has a 30-year sales agreement with China National Petroleum Corp. that calls for 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year through the so-called Power of Siberia pipeline.
China holds a minority stake in a liquefied natural gas facility on the Yamal Peninsula alongside French energy company Total and Novatek, the largest private natural gas company in Russia.