CHECHEN GOVERNMENT DISCUSSES MEASURES TO FIGHT GAS THEFT

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GROZNY, September 9 (RIA Novosti) - The government of Chechnya is seriously concerned over the mass-scale theft of natural gas.

The issue was discussed Thursday at a meeting between Chechen President Sergei Abramov and gas industry officials, the presidential press office reports. Of the 1.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas supplied to Chechnya annually, about 40 percent is stolen.

The gas industry officials expressed concern over ongoing gas theft from pipelines and free gas consumption by brick plants, petrol stations, and other companies.

With gas consumption in Chechnya being several times as much as the norm, Abramov and the industry executives discussed the possibility of installing gas meters. Taking into account the plight of Chechen residents, many of whom now live in a war zone and are unemployed, gas prices will be lower than the nation's average, the President's press office reports. Abramov pointed out the necessity of setting up a body to control the consumption of natural gas and instructed the Interior Ministry to crack down on gas theft in the republic.

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