Gas and the North Caucasus

Gas and the North Caucasus


Pavel Martynov, exclusively to Vestnik Kavkaza

This week, Premier Dmitry Medvedeev demanded that governors of the North Caucasus Federal District regions tighten control over gas consumption. At a session of the parliamentary commission on socio-economic development he said: “It is necessary to stop theft and the usage of uncertified gas equipment; that is a crime.”

According to Medvedev, the Caucasus region is one of historic centers of oil production in the country, but due to depletion of oil fields, volumes of production reduce; professional oil refining is absence. Mini oil refining plants (more than 80) are involved into oil refining in the region. A part of them still have no necessary licenses and break security requirements. Often it is simply “shadow” business, which is connected with uncertified linking to power nets, gas communications and major pipelines.

The average gasification level of the District reached almost 90%, but the past due debt of the District’s residents is almost 50 billion rubles. It is almost a half of the gas debt in the whole country. The federal country considers that the reason for this is usage of handmade gas equipment which is not certified or controlled and is dangerous for people and buildings. Moreover, technical conditions of gas distribution nets and numerous incidents of uncertified linking cause concerns.

According to Medvedev, payment history and putting the energy sphere in order are one of indices of efficiency of regional authorities, which will be considered for estimation of activity of regional leadership.

However, heads of the NCFD republics deny the data presented at the session; they don’t believe that gas debt reached 50 billion rubles. “The announced figures are unreasonable. To use such an amount of gas we need at least five more republics with developed enterprises which we used to have in the past. And pipes should be much bigger,” the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov said. The head of Karachi-Circassia Rashid Temrezov supported him: “All republics of the North Caucasus and the Stavropol Krai are no worse than other regions in Russia in payments.”

Meanwhile, a year ago, the plenipotentiary envoy of President in the NCFD Alexander Khloponin warned about gas debts in the District – 40 billion rubles. “There is confusion in the debt structure. It is unclear how it is being formed,” Khloponin said. According to Khloponin, “actually we have no gas distribution network, but a sieve; and it is very strange.”

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