by Valery Kryukov
The oil and gas industry is one of the most stable and well-developed industries in the Siberian economy and the most important sector of the Russian economy overall. (Russia has approximately 47 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves, about 80% of which are located in Western Siberia.) Once all former production amalgamations in industry was transformed into "Soviet Union Concerns," (just before the breakup of the USSR,) Gazprom took its dominant position in the gas industry. Then Gazprom was transformed from a state concern into a state-owned joint stock company, and the priorities of the state and Gazprom changed.
Gazprom used a number of methods in acquiring its current power and position. For example, using politics in pricing, Gazprom transformed the Gazprom board into a profit center. Now regions rich in resources, (especially Western Siberia) are poorer in terms of their sustainable economic development. Once their main resources are depleted, these areas have nothing left with which to renew their economy.
It is notable that the current great economic success of Gazprom resulted in a series of disadvantages for the economy as a whole. (For instance, Gazprom prevents its internal companies from maximizing their full potential) though Gazprom's own options for the future depend on the transformation of the entire Russian economy.
Nevertheless, Gazprom has the potential to survive and be the main supplier not only of energy resources, but also of finances for the entire Russian economy.