Russian energy giant, Gazprom and GAZ Group, have inked a deal to cooperate using natural gas for automotive fuel.

The agreement was signed today (21 June) by GAZ Group president and CEO, Bo Andersson and Gazprom chairman, Alexey Miller, at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum and is designed to develop gas-engine vehicles, as well as create a Russian market for the motor fuel.

Gazprom will provide the filling facilities for compressed natural gas-engine vehicles, coordinate construction of gas-engine infrastructure facilities in areas with a high concentration of natural gas vehicles and enable testing of gas-engine vehicles.

Both parties say they will agree a list of regions identified for supplies of such natural gas vehicles along with a range of areas where refuelling compressor stations are to be built.

The companies also agreed they would coordinate the organisation of occupational training and retraining of engineers and technical specialists to operate and maintain gas-engine vehicles.

"GAZ Group considers the development of world-class light commercial vehicles, trucks and buses using gas fuel as one of its priority areas," said Andersson.

"The cooperation with Gazprom will allow us to coordinate our efforts in expanding the Russian fleet of natural gas vehicles and develop the infrastructure necessary for its operation.

"Taking into account the high economic efficiency of gas vehicles, the conversion of commercial transport to natural gas will help to increase the competitiveness both of individual businesses and the national economy in general."