Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, said it pumped 1.4 percent more of the fuel in the first third of this year than in the previous year, this was mainly due to the addition of a new field in the Arctic. The company extracted 184.5 billion cubic meters in the period, Gazprom said in a statement. The Arctic-based Zapolyarnoye field, which began pumping gas in October, produced 10.2 billion cubic meters in the first four months of 2002, exceeding the total increase for the period of 2.6 billion cubic meters. Gazprom, which is the biggest individual gas supplier to Europe, is relying on Zapolyarnoye to boost exports further. Exports account for eighty percent of the revenue that is generated at the group. It accounts for a quarter of Europe's gas imports, selling mostly to Ruhrgas of Germany, Italy's Eni and also the French monopoly Gaz de France. “Output from new deposits allowed the company not only to offset a decline in production from aging fields but to secure the increase,” Gazprom's head of gas production Vasily Podyuk said in the statement.
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