21 February 2003 – The world’s biggest gas company, Russia’s Gazprom plans to ask the government to charge different prices according to the company.

“Given that gas consumption depends on seasons and the special role of underground storage areas in overcoming peak consumption, (management) has discussed the necessity of asking the government to introduce different prices in autumn-winter and spring-summer,” Gazprom said in a statement.

It said the funds received as a result of different prices would be used to develop underground gas storage areas.

Gazprom plans to produce 530 billion cubic metres of gas this year, 60 percent of which will be sold domestically. Gazprom sells its gas at home at one-fifth of international prices.

The government keeps the giant’s prices under firm control and has allowed it this year to raise them by 20 per cent from $16.4 per 1000 cubic metres in 2002.