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Gazprom to start production at Yuzhno-Russkoye field on Dec.18

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MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russian energy giant Gazprom will start production at northwest Siberia's Yuzhno-Russkoye oil and gas deposit on December 18, the company's board chairman said on Thursday.

Production at the deposit in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area will begin at 10:00 a.m., Dmitry Medvedev told journalists.

"This is a serious event, involving tens of thousands of people, which is linked to our asset-swap agreements with our German partners," Medvedev said.

Under an asset swap agreement between Gazprom and Germany's BASF AG, signed earlier this year, the German energy concern bought a 25% minus one ordinary share and one privileged share without a voting right.

In turn, Gazprom increased its stake in the authorized capital of their joint trader Wingas GmbH to 50% minus one share. Gazprom will also receive a 49% stake in the authorized capital of Wintershall AG, which owns exploration and production licenses at Libyan oil and gas fields.

The deposit, for which Gazprom subsidiary Severneftegazprom holds a license, has 805 billion cubic meters of proven gas reserves, and 5.7 million tons (42 million barrels) of proven oil reserves.

Medvedev also said Russia saw no obstacles to launching on schedule the Nord Stream pipeline, being built under the Baltic Sea to pump natural gas to Germany.

The ambitious pipeline project is being developed by Russia's state-controlled Gazprom and Germany's E.ON and BASF at an estimated cost of $12 billion.

Medvedev said the situation around the pipeline, due to be commissioned in the latter half of 2010, was "quite favorable, despite concerns being voiced by a number of countries."

Baltic countries earlier called for a detailed study of its environmental consequences. The pipeline is expected to run across Russian territorial waters, the economic zone of Finland, Sweden and Denmark, as well as Germany.

Gazprom controls a 51% stake in Nord Stream AG, the project operator.

Medvedev added that Gazprom was seeking to enter the New York and Shanghai exchanges.

"Gazprom has capitalization growth reserves, and work is in store for the company to position itself on the New York and Shanghai exchanges," he said.

Gazprom's capitalization on the RTS stock exchange has reached $336 billion, Medvedev said, adding that his company was currently ranked the world's fifth largest.

Gazprom shares grew 4.89% on the MICEX stock exchange on Wednesday, and went up 4.45% on the RTS. Experts said the growth followed the completion of gas price talks with Ukraine earlier this week, and an increase in gas tariffs for 2008 by the Federal Tariff Service.

Medvedev said with confidence that Gazprom's capitalization growth would have a positive impact on the entire Russian stock market.

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