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Russian gas-market liberalisation crawls ahead

Gazprom's grip on Russia's gas market is loosening, but liberalisation will be a slow process, writes Tom Nicholls

THINK of Russian gas and you think of Gazprom. But perhaps not for much longer: pressure is growing on the government to liberalise the gas sector and let other producers compete more freely in the domestic market. Liberalisation would make obvious business sense for Gazprom's rivals, by providing them with another revenue stream. But it would also create a significant environmental benefit, making it easier for oil producers to sell associated gas – reducing flaring, which prime minister Vladimir Putin has admitted is a "disgrace". The World Bank estimates that Russia flares almost 50bn cubic metres a year (cm/y), a substantial volume in the context of the country's exports to the EU, whic

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