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Gazprom Accelerating Move to St. Petersburg

Gazprom could complete the move of all of its operations to St. Petersburg by the end of 2015, and might be leaving some employees behind, sources close to gas giant said, Vedomosti reported Tuesday.

Five of the state-owned gas giant's departments and a number of subsidiaries are already spread throughout St. Petersburg, though many employees are temporarily working out of a business center near Pulkovo airport.

Not all staff are prepared to move and they are expected to pay for housing themselves. "Eventually, middle and upper level managers will be compensated for the cost of mortgages," a source said. "Those who do not want to move to St. Petersburg will be replaced by locals."

Gazprom is building the 84-story Lakhta Center office building in the northern capital, but it is slated for completion only in 2018. It will house Gazpromneft and Gazprom Export, which moved to the city earlier and are now in temporary facilities.

A leading real estate developer in St. Petersburg said that Gazprom subsidiaries are actively searching for office space in St. Petersburg. Landlords considering Gazprom subsidiaries as tenants understand that this is a temporary arrangement, as they will all eventually move to the Lakhta Center, the developer added.

Yulia Skharova, director of HeadHunter North West, said that in the first 10 days of this month Gazprom and its subsidiaries in St. Petersburg posted 17 percent more job openings than the monthly average for the second half of 2013, and three times as many versus the same period last year.

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