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Russia's Gas Sector: The Endless Wait for Reform?


  • Rudiger Ahrend
  • William Tompson


The gas industry is perhaps Russia’s least reformed major sector. Prices are regulated, exports are monopolised and the domestic market is dominated by a state-controlled, vertically integrated monopolist, OAO Gazprom. Gazprom combines commercial and regulatory functions, and maintains tight control over the sector’s infrastructure and over information flows within it. The sector as it is currently constituted is highly unlikely to be able to sustain sufficient output growth to satisfy both rising export commitments and domestic demand. There is significant potential for accelerating the growth of non-Gazprom production and making gas supply in Russia more competitive, but this will require fundamental reform. The proposals for reform advanced in the paper address two sets of issues. First, there is an urgent need to increase transparency in the sector and transfer many of the regulatory functions now performed by Gazprom to state bodies. Secondly, there is a longer-term need for a ... Le secteur du gaz en Russie : L'attente interminable pour des réformes? L’industrie du gaz est peut être le secteur majeur le moins réformé en Russie. Les prix sont réglementés, les exportations sont effectuées par un monopole, et le marché intérieur est dominé par OAO Gazprom, un monopole verticalement intégré sous contrôle de l’État. Gazprom mélange des fonctions commerciales et de réglementation, et contrôle étroitement aussi bien l’infrastructure que les flux d’information à l’intérieur du secteur. De ce fait il est fortement improbable que le secteur dans sa forme actuelle soit capable d’atteindre une croissance de la production suffisante pour satisfaire aussi bien les engagements croissants d’exportations et la demande domestique. Le potentiel pour accroître la croissance de la production de gaz par d’autres producteurs que Gazprom, et de rendre l’offre de gaz en Russie plus compétitive, est fort. Mais l’exploitation de ce potentiel va nécessiter des réformes fondamentales. Les réformes proposées dans cet article concernent deux types de ...

Suggested Citation

  • Rudiger Ahrend & William Tompson, 2004. "Russia's Gas Sector: The Endless Wait for Reform?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 402, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:402-en
    DOI: 10.1787/735153733318

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    Cited by:

    1. Hella Engerer, 2011. "Liberalization of Infrastructures in Russia," Chapters, in: Matthias Finger & Rolf W. Künneke (ed.),International Handbook of Network Industries, chapter 25, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Catherine Locatelli, 2015. "EU-Russia trading relations: the challenges of a new gas architecture," Post-Print hal-01131203, HAL.
    3. Catherine Locatelli, 2015. "EU-Russia trading relations: the challenges of a new gas architecture," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 313-329, April.
    4. Catherine Locatelli, 2020. "Une lecture institutionnaliste de la réforme du secteur gazier russe," Working Papers hal-02734835, HAL.
    5. Catherine Locatelli, 2013. "Les voies de la réforme du secteur gazier russe," Post-Print halshs-00822857, HAL.
    6. Catherine Locatelli, 2014. "The Russian gas industry : challenges to the "Gazprom model"," Post-Print halshs-00853776, HAL.
    7. Finon, Dominique & Locatelli, Catherine, 2008. "Russian and European gas interdependence: Could contractual trade channel geopolitics?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 423-442, January.
    8. Catherine Locatelli, 2012. "Relations UE-Russie : les enjeux d'une nouvelle architecture gazière," Post-Print halshs-00755640, HAL.
    9. Catherine Locatelli, 2007. "Les stratégies d'internationalisation de Gazprom, enjeu de la constitution d'une grande compagnie d'Etat russe," Post-Print halshs-00115377, HAL.
    10. Dominique Finon & Catherine Locatelli, 2006. "L'interdépendance gazière de la Russie et de l'Union européenne : quel équilibre entre le marché et la géopolitique ?," Post-Print halshs-00119602, HAL.
    11. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00853776 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Catherine Locatelli, 2008. "Gazprom's export strategies under the institutional constraint of the Russian gas market," OPEC Energy Review, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, vol. 32(3), pages 246-264, September.
    13. Spanjer, Aldo, 2007. "Russian gas price reform and the EU-Russia gas relationship: Incentives, consequences and European security of supply," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 2889-2898, May.
    14. Goldthau, Andreas, 2008. "Rhetoric versus reality: Russian threats to European energy supply," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 686-692, February.
    15. Locatelli, C., 2020. "Une lecture institutionnaliste de la réforme du secteur gazier russe," Working Papers 2020-04, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    16. Dominique Finon & Catherine Locatelli, 2008. "Russian and European gas interdependence. Can market forces balance out geopolitics?," Post-Print halshs-00129618, HAL.

    More about this item


    cantonnement; competition; compétition; economy; energy; entreprise d'État; exportations; exports; gaz; Gazprom; Gazprom; infrastructure; infrastructure; monopole; monopoly; natural gas; pipeline; pipelines; regulation; ring fence; Russia; Russie; réglementation; state ownership; subsidies; subvention; économie; énergie;

    JEL classification:

    • L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • P28 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Natural Resources; Environment
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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