Russia prepares to institute wholesale gas market
Gazprom is set for a shake up, as the Russian government is reportedly preparing to institute a wholesale gas market.
Local press reports say that plans are also afoot to separate the monopoly's production units, and to combine its
New government proposals will provide different gas suppliers with equal access to pipelines at uniform costs. This move would serve as an initial step towards the formation of a national natgas exchange.
Additionally, the authorities are considering the consolidation of Gazprom's 17 transport arms into one or two companies. Production units will reportedly be restructured as joint stock companies, which will each exchange a controlling interest for minority stakes in Gazprom.
Under the proposals, production units could sell gas to consumers and on the exchange. This would increase domestic
prices and boost profit. In the future, domestic gas prices and exports could be left unregulated.
The move follows calls from the International Monetary Fund for Russia to stimulate competition in key industries. The gas business is one of a number of sectors that are currently under monopoly control.