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Gazprom's position on the Russian gas market weakening. OSW Commentary No. 70, 2012-02-23

Paszyc, Ewa (2011) Gazprom's position on the Russian gas market weakening. OSW Commentary No. 70, 2012-02-23. [Policy Paper]

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    As the difficulties Gazprom has faced in recent years on the European market have multiplied1, so more and more symptoms have appeared which may suggest that the company’s dominant position is deteriorating. The decision made by the Russian government in June 2011 to double the tax Gazprom has to pay on the extraction of gas, which was later approved by parliament, was the first time in many years when the company’s fiscal privileges were withdrawn. The process of Gazprom’s assets being taken over by private companies and business partners from within Vladimir Putin’s closest circle is underway. More and more frequently attempts are being made to challenge the company’s monopoly in areas of key importance for the functioning of the entire gas sector, such as Gazprom’s exclusive right to dispose of the Russian gas transportation system and its exports monopoly. Competition from independent gas producers on the domestic market is growing, and Gazprom is gradually being pushed out of some of that market’s most profitable segments (industrial clients). The emerging tendencies in the Russian gas sector derive from a number of factors – from the situation on the European gas market, through difficulties hampering the development of the sector in Russia itself, to the private interests of the current ruling class and its business partners. The plans for a structural reform of the monopoly (including isolating gas transportation system from Gazprom), presented since 2000 by the Ministry for Economic Development and since 2003 by the Russian Association of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), suggest a direction for the changes necessary to stimulate the sector’s development and improve the efficiency of Gazprom itself. However, the monopolist’s current business model gives the government full control over this strategic enterprise, which is a core of Putin’s concept for developing Russia as a global energy power. Despite Putin’s recent statement that he “does not rule out privatising Gazprom in the future” (made at a meeting with political scientists in Moscow on 6 February this year), any structural reform of Gazprom (and consequently, a weakening of the state’s control over it) seems unlikely in the foreseeable future. Still, the developments on the domestic market – growing pressure from other gas companies (oil corporations and independent producers) and changes on the European market2 – may result in the weakening of Gazprom’s monopoly privileges and a gradual deterioration of its special status within Russia.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Russia
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2014 14:44
    Number of Pages: 9
    Last Modified: 12 Dec 2014 14:44

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