The gas news is getting louder and louder;
- Yesterday, and most uselessly, in the FT, Arkady Ostrovsky rehashed Kakha' visa-less UBS report and Vladimir Milov's criticisms.
- Alfa Bank (no link love) in a research report suggested that over the next few years the regulated price of gas will rise by 20% per annum on average. Albeit they seem to have missed the fact that UES already buys a substantial amount of its gas in the “open” market.
- This morning rumours bubble (again) that Gazprom is about to buy up to 50% of Novatek - confirming Milov's comments that they are better “on Wall Street” than with the drill bit.
- Vedoms yesterday reported that Gref and Kudrin are fighting a rearguard action to stop regulated price rises with fears of inflation on the horizon. I've been here before.
- Today Pun hosts a Government meeting on energy. I feel a Kanutian moment coming on; keep inflation down and raise tariffs, find more gas, preferably by January.
There is, of course, a fairly simple solution to all of this. Demerge GAZP from UGSS and allow everyone access to the same export contracts and force all gas producers to sell a fixed portion of production for heating. Unfortunately super-profits for individuals would disappear even if the lights stayed on and the radiators warm.
I think that UES and GAZP's PR departments are being more active than Gref's and Kudrin's. Control of inflation is very important. Somewhere before I have commented that the Kremlin is most afraid of the people. This will win out in the immediate future over tariffs and Gazprom's desire to make more money even if they don't want to spend it on gas.
[composed and posted with ecto]