The opening of the joint representation of the Russian joint-stock company Gazprom and its subsidiary Vostokgazprom has taken place in Beijing. During a press conference in Tomsk (the administrative centre of a region in the south of Western Siberia which bears the same name) general director of Vostokgazprom Sergei Zhvachkin stated that his company would act as the only export operator in delivering Russian gas to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region (APR) within the framework of the East-West large-scale gas project. The project is being carried out jointly by Gazprom, Shell and Petro China companies. Practically all largest companies of the world participated in the international tender. According to Zhvachkin, his company is responsible for preparing the financial project. By the Chinese government's terms, only a participant in the construction of the gas pipeline can trade in gas on the Chinese market. Three companies, among them Gazprom, will have this right. Zhvachkin also said that one more eastern neighbour, Japan, shows great interest in Vostokgazprom's programme. "The Japanese have already expressed readiness to invest 500 million dollars in the Siberian gas projects," he said. On December 17 the Gazprom Board of Directors approved the Programme of Development of the Gas Resources of Eastern Siberia and the Far East and of emergence on the markets of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. According to Sergei Zhvachkin, Vostokgazprom's status as the leading organisation in implementing the main provisions of the adopted programme has been formalized.