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Gazprom, Transneft security staff allowed to carry firearms

MOSCOW, July 4 (RIA Novosti) - The lower house of the Russian parliament passed Wednesday in its third reading amendments to a law on firearms, permitting company security officers of two energy firms to carry weapons.

Russian lawmakers stipulated that energy giant Gazprom [RTS:GAZP] and pipeline monopoly Transneft [RTS:TRNF] operate strategically important pipeline networks and oil and gas facilities, which must be effectively protected from increasing terrorist threats and illegal pipeline tampering.

So far, the federal authorities have been unable to provide reliable security at these facilities due to a lack of financial and human resources, which has led to frequent incidents of illegal pipeline tapping, fires, oil spillages, and environmental pollution.

Considering the importance of the facilities operated by the two companies, Gazprom and Transneft will be permitted to equip their security personnel with service-issue firearms.

In an explanatory note to the draft legislation, the lawmakers said that 91% of Gazprom'a facilities were currently guarded by the company's internal security personnel.

The bill passed by the State Duma corrects the list of facilities requiring heightened security, and amends the rules regulating the accountability on firearm use by the employees of both companies.

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