Mr. Putin repeatedly emphasizes that restructuring the resource sector to improve its performance is the most important issue for Russian economic growth. Enormous investments will be needed just to maintain current production levels. The gas industry is the best positioned among energy sector branches, but 60% of its pipelines have been operating for more than 20 years [published in 1999], which is nearly two-thirds of their projected useful life. Integrating the processing industry with the extractive industry is one key to improving conditions. The most promising way to accomplish this is by creating large financial industrial groups (FIGs). These companies will allow Russia to move away from reliance on outmoded technologies and they will be able to raise capital on Russian and international markets to locate and develop new deposits. These new companies must take the lead in building up the economy, providing revenue and jobs, and promoting economic integration within Russia, with the CIS and with the world economy.