World's largest natural gas producer, Gazprom says it would like to purchase 34% of the Lithuanian Lietuvos Dujos joint-stock company. According to Gazprom's press service, its nearly 150,000 km-long high pressure pipeline system is the longest there is. Since the Soviet times, the gas pipeline system of the Republic of Lithuania has been an organic part of that of Gazprom.
As Alexander Ryazanov, Gazprom's Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors, said in the interview he gave the Lithuanian Lietuvos Rytas newspaper, Gazprom intends to offer less for the 34% than the German E.O Energie consortium paid for a similar package because, Gazprom explains, it is the largest supplier of gas to Lithuania.
Gazprom joint-stock company was founded in February 1993 when the state-owned gas concern of the same name went public. The gas giant accounts for over 20% of all natural gas produced in the world and for 94% of that produced in Russia. Its stockholders, companies and individuals, number over half a million. The share of foreign investors in the capital is fixed. In 2001, Gazprom supplied 126.9 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe, 39.6 billion cubic metres to the CIS and the Baltic republics.
Russia's Ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich, said that Moscow would treat any military intervention in the affairs of Belarus as an attack on Russia