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Reform of gas sector in Russia

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There are few, if any, industries more important to the Russian economy than the natural gas industry. Russia is a major gas exporter and has substantial natural gas reserves. This industry is dominated by a single vertically-integrated firm, RAO Gazprom. The industry has faced several problems, including low domestic prices, widespread non-payment (and barter and offset schemes) and a virtually complete lack of competition. At a seminar in Moscow in September 2001, OECD experts and Russian officials discussed what can be learned from the experience of reform in OECD natural gas industries. The topics covered include enhancing the transparency of Gazprom, the need for rebalancing of prices, the "right" price for gas relative to other fuels, the financing of new investment, the structure and powers of regulatory institutions and the promotion of competition in natural gas production. A key issue for the Russian economy is whether to structurally separate Gazprom. Separation of natural gas production and transportation has the potential to enhance competition between gas producers, and stimulate development of gas fields, without necessarily foregoing the market power that Russia enjoys in international gas markets.

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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: September 1, 2002

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