"Gazprom has the largest natural gas reserves in the world. When I joined the board of directors (in 2000), the concern was worth about $8 billion, but today it is more than $250 billion. One day it could become the world's most valuable company," he commented.
He went on to add that the state should continue to back the company, as it provided a vital service to the populace.
"The entire country, its population, depends on Gazprom. We do not want to risk an economic or political collapse that could occur should the enterprise be sold to a dozen or so private owners," he commented.
He continued by claiming that the Russian gas giant has always honoured contractual terms, saying "please don't forget that German firms have a six per cent share in Gazprom".
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