Gazprom, is a natural gas extractor based in Moscow, Russia. It is classed as a multinational corporation because of it’s distribution of natural gas to much of Europe and numerous other countries.
Gazprom has been viewed as the Tool of the Kremlin, since it is primarily owned by the Russian government. Following the Ukrainian Gas Crises in 2006, 2007 and 2009 (where gas was reduced or shut off completely to Ukraine, over apparently unpaid gas bills), more pipelines were built to Western Europe to increase energy security in the region. It has been investigated by the European Commission on the basis that it uses it’s prominent position to influence global politics.
It is a relic of the Cold War-era of Russian state-controlled companies. In 1993 privatization began, that is, it was sold off to shareholders in order to produce profits. These shareholders were made up of the members of public and the workers However, the government retained around 40% of the shares.
During the years Boris Yeltsin served as President of Russia, the chairman of Gazprom at the time (Viktor Chernomyrdin) was appointed Prime Minister. This meant the Russian government could now control the company, and the company could avoid taxes. The act of appointing the chairman viewed as being severely corrupt.
In 2011, it improved it’s environmental impact by reducing emissions and cleaning up the processes used to extract natural gas. It’s economic output is substantial, although recently there have been significant drops (notably in the first few months of 2014, it’s profits dropped by 10%) in profits for the company.
It employs nearly 400,000 people.
Gazprom provides around 33% of the European Union’s total natural gas supply. This makes it an important factor in European politics, and can influence environmental and energy decisions. Since it’s only trade is in natural gas, it wishes to maintain Europe’s desire for the fossil fuel. Because it can only trade with nations connected by land (pipelines are the preferred method of transporting natural gas, for safety reasons), Europe is it’s biggest and most important consumer.
Read through these sources to gain a more in-depth understanding of Gazprom’s operation
- Gazprom’s company website
- The Ukrainian Gas Disputes, article from 2009
- Gazprom’s profits fall in 2014
Further research may be needed if you have a specific aspect of Gazprom to research.
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