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Gazprom to expand 2007 investment program by 44% to $29.4 bln

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MOSCOW, May 31 (RIA Novosti) - The management of Russia's energy giant Gazprom approved Thursday a 44% increase in its investment program for 2007 to $29.4 billion against January's plan of $8.9 billion, Gazprom said in a press release.

Gazprom will also cut down its budget income by 11.2% to 2.277 trillion rubles ($87.9 billion) in 2007 against an earlier approved amount.

The natural gas monopoly said the changes in its investment program and budget were related to the purchase of stakes in Sakhalin Energy, the operator of the Sakhalin II oil and gas project, Belarusian pipeline operator Beltransgaz and Mosenergo, Russia's largest territorial generating company. In addition, Gazprom said it had reviewed its investment projects and volumes for 2007.

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