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Gazprom's trouble at home

Gazprom’s local rivals are taking an ever bigger slice of a shrinking Russian market

OF ALL Russia’s state-controlled companies, Gazprom is used to getting its way. But now even in its own realm, Russia’s domestic gas market, threats are beginning to mount. Competitors are starting to make in-roads on the supply side, while demand shrinks in a country struggling to emerge from a two-year recession. Facing a fierce challenge from independent gas producers, Gazprom’s sales volumes have declined for five consecutive years, and last year dropped by another 9% to 200bn cubic metres, a record low for the company. A tax hike may also be looming, although the company has successfully ducked an obligation by state-owned holdings to pay increased dividends worth 50% of profits under

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