Russia's Gazprom invested $28.6m in non-existent gas pipeline

Russia's Gazprom invested $28.6m in non-existent gas pipeline
On the site, the correspondent found only logged forest and abandoned sections of the pipe Photo: Mikhail Ognev

The gas pipeline to the city of Priozersk with a length of 125 km was to be built in 2014. Gazprom Invest accepted work, but only the construction of the first 40-kilometer section was completed.

The company Gazprom Invest paid 1.7 billion rubles ($28.6m) for the unfinished 125-kilometer gas pipeline to the city of Priozersk, Leningrad region, Fontanka reports. The correspondent of the newspaper found out that at the moment only the first lease of 40 kilometers and one gas distribution station in Sosnovo were built, although almost all the documents were accepted and paid for in 2015.

On the site, the correspondent found only logged forest and abandoned sections of the pipe. The location of the second gas distribution station is unknown, and in place of the third there is an information board, which indicates that the construction must be completed in the fourth quarter of 2017. In the photo, which Fontanka published, it can be seen that there are almost no signs of construction on site.

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Construction of a gas distribution station at the Priozersk gas pipeline. Photo: Mikhail Ognev

The construction was carried out by the company Omega. According to the contract, it had to complete the work in 2014. Currently, however, the company goes through bankruptcy proceedings. Arbitration manager Stanislav Chesnokov confirmed that, according to the documents, Omega fulfilled and received money for 97% of the works. The real readiness of the gas pipeline, according to Chesnokov, is about 25%. The manager also noted that the company owed the subcontractor at least 420 million rubles ($7m).

Owner of Omega Nikolay Ermolaev declined to comment on the failed construction. Fontanka could not contact its general director, son of the owner Vitaly Ermolaev. The company's chief accountant also refused to comment.

The head of the press service of Gazprom Invest, Nikolay Kozlov, said that the company would be ready to discuss the situation after the completion of the Omega’s inspection by the investigative authorities.

The committee on the fuel and energy complex of the Leningrad region called information about the construction of the gas pipeline by 2014 a delirium. Chairman of the committee Andrey Gavrilov said that gas pipeline would be built in Priozersk "probably in 2019". The head of the administration of the Priozersky district, Alexander Soklakov, confirmed that the plans for gasification of Priozersk have been corrected for 2018-2019.

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