It seems that one of the largest companies in Russia is rapidly becoming a burden for the country. Two recent news, directly related to Gazprom, clearly characterize the unenviable position in which it turned out. Firstly, there were reports that with a high degree of probability mega-projects of a raw monster aimed at China, will be failed. Secondly, it became known that the state as the main shareholder of the monopolist can literally coerce Gazprom, which is traditionally stingy for dividends, to the due payments to the budget. A deadlock - so it is possible to gently characterize that place in which there was a giant, calling itself "national treasure".
It seems that Gazprom has overslept a new revolution. After the shale coup in the hydrocarbon market and the rapid growth of the importers' interest in LNG (liquefied natural gas) for the domestic monopolist, the change in the rate of China, proclaimed as the "strategic partner" of the company, will become an unpleasant revelation. According to reports from abroad, Beijing is going to expand the supply of energy from the US, and therefore stated that it is "inexpedient" to transport raw materials from Sakhalin and the existence of the "Siberia-2" gas pipeline. The latter was intended to supplement the already excessive capacity of the first string of the "Force of Siberia." Now, it is not excluded, the domestic monopoly will have to abandon the ambitious "turn to the East."
However, strikes against Gazprom are not only on the part of foreign partners. Last week it became known that the Ministry of Finance offered to increase the company's mineral extraction tax rate (tax on mining) in order to increase revenues to the treasury. The reason for such a proposal is quite understandable: the company, slightly more than 50% of which belongs to state structures, sent only 20% of the net profit for dividend payment for the last year. The shortfall in income is planned and partly offset by new MET rates.
However, it is by no means a fact that the idea of the ministry will be approved, and the monopoly will at least a little, but it will fork out.
Gazprom is generally quite stingy when it comes to investing in the country. This he, for example, repeatedly demonstrated in the program of gasification of regions. But the company, on the contrary, is surprisingly generous with regard to both foreign partners and its own contractors. It's time to ask the famous rhetorical question of Mikhail Zhvanetsky: "Maybe something has to be corrected in the conservatory?".
The positions of Gazprom in foreign markets remain unshakable and even strengthen, but ... only in football. The Russian giant remains the sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, not long ago extended the contract with the German Schalke until 2022 and is rumored to be planning to buy FC Kosice from Slovakia. But in the commercial sphere, the company's business is not so hot.
On May 31, the Stockholm Arbitration passed a preliminary decision in the lawsuit of Gazprom with the Ukrainian Naftogaz, which obviously did not satisfy either side. So, according to the verdict, the Russian company will not be able to fine its opponents by $ 45.7 billion, as planned. However, Naftogaz will also have to abandon claims worth $ 17.9 billion.
But if in this case a draw is fixed in a certain sense, then in general the Russian company on the Ukrainian front regularly bears losses. In February 2016, the antimonopoly committee of a neighboring country imposed a $ 3.2 billion fine on Gazprom for violating the law on the protection of economic competition, and then doubled the amount by issuing a 100 percent penalty. According to the gas companies, they are going to challenge the punishment in international courts. As far as this can be successfully seen from the actions of the Stockholm Arbitration. Meanwhile, the authorities are already imposing sanctions on the property of Gazprom in Ukraine - in particular, the share of the monopoly in the firm Gaztranzit was arrested.
Trillions in the budget
Gazprom is one of the key taxpayers in Russia. The share of Gazprom in the budget revenues is approximately 20%. According to data for 2014, this company brought to the state budget 1.2 trillion rubles. For the whole of 2015, all of Gazprom's tax collections amounted to 1.3 trillion rubles. Approximately the same - for 2016. At the same time, Kiev continues to reverse purchases of Russian gas, acquiring it not from the domestic monopolist, but from third countries. According to a fair comment by analysts, Gazprom looks at this practice through fingers. Moreover, he has already promised to Brussels not to hinder the re-export of raw materials.
Relations with other countries are not easy to build. The European Commission is going to study the prospects of the Nord Stream-2 pipeline, arguing for strict regulation of its laying. Approximately the same, which is currently being subjected to the "Nord Stream-1", when the additional ground power is allowed to use, then no. In general, the bureaucracy of the Old World constantly harasses Gazprom with antitrust investigations, forcing them to make concessions. And while the company dutifully agrees with the claims, competitors are entering the European market - Poland has already accepted with the open arms the first ship with LNG from the States.
Apparently, to console Gazprom's management remains only strange publications in the Western press. About a week ago an Austrian newspaper wrote that a local OMV company was interested in the "possibility" of reanimation of the "South Stream". The project of this pipeline was buried in April 2014, when the European Parliament recommended Bulgaria to refuse to participate in it. She obediently took under the peak, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the EU's position "unconstructive", on which all calmed down.
The situation with the South Stream cost Gazprom about $ 5 billion, and this is only for the last three years of the life of the project. In general, as the observers estimated, as of mid-2015, the monopoly could lose around 2.4 trillion rubles on unrealized pipelines and the development of fields that were unnecessary. This amount, apparently, includes investments in Shtokman, frozen after the oil shale revolution, as well as capital investments in the Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok line, whose surplus capacity of 30 billion cubic meters was supposed to be supplied to China, but was never in demand.
Therefore, it is very likely that the "Power of Siberia", about which Gazprom talks so much through advertising, will also turn out to be pshik. "The company prefers to invest in non-commercial projects. Such, which, it seems to me, will not bring any profit, like the "Power of Siberia", other gas pipelines. In preparation for the so-called "South Stream" alone, about 17 billion dollars were invested, "says Mikhail Krutikhin, partner of the consulting agency RusEnergy. According to the expert, "Gazprom", apparently, "does not take into account the interests of its shareholders", the main of which is the state, and, it seems, "brings profit only to contractors who perform unnecessary work on the construction of gas pipelines, and leadership that From year to year increases his salary. "
Indeed, at the same "South Stream" firm "Stroygazmontazh" brothers Rotenberg earned 90.85 billion, and Stroytransgaz Gennady Timchenko - 19.2 billion rubles. As for Alexey Miller's salary, he received about $ 17.7 million in the year before last, $ 27 million in 2014, $ 25 million in 2013 (according to RBC and Forbes). And this is not counting surcharges for admission to state secrets, numerous bonuses, free medical care and so on. Simply magnificent incomes for the head of the company nowadays before the huge mountain of unresolved and, apparently, principally ignored by top-managers of problems.
"Prices for Russian gas in Europe fell," Gazprom "actually capitulated to the European Commission, agreeing to all the concessions. Megatons of pipes continue to be buried in the ground for 20 years, while gas exports in physical terms are trampled on the spot. The entrance to the global market of LNG Gazprom as a whole missed. Management efficiency is no different. The company demonstratively demonstrates to all its shareholders, including the state, that the interests of shareholders to Gazprom are not important, but the interests of management are important, "Konstantin Bushuyev, head of the analysis department of the markets" Opening Broker ", points out.
Records and Dips
Gazprom has a whole list of statistical achievements, but not all of them can be proud of. Thus, the Russian monopolist has very solid positions in the industry: it accounts for 66% of domestic and 11% of global gas production. It controls 72% of domestic and 17% of global reserves of raw materials. In addition, Gazprom owns the largest on the planet gas transportation system - its length is 171.2 thousand kilometers.
But the figures do not look impressive in the dynamics. Expert-analytical center "Modernization" compared the company's performance for 1999 and 2015 and noted several negative trends. For example, 18 years ago, the monopolist produced 546 billion cubic meters of gas, and two years ago - 419.5 billion - a fall of 23.2%. At the same time, in the United States, which accounts for 6% of the world's reserves of raw materials, 533 and 767 billion, respectively, grew out of the depths, an increase of 43.9%.
Not surprisingly, in general, during the period under review, Gazprom's share in world production decreased from 23.5% in 1999 to 11% today. However, the rest of the company is growing steadily: the number of employees from 298 thousand (1999) increased 1.5 times, to 449 thousand (2015), the cost of extracting thousands of cubes increased: from 17.2 to 118.2 dollars. But the most remarkable thing is that there are more billionaires among Gazprom's contractors. In 1999, there was one, in 2015 there were more than a dozen.
It is not surprising that as a result, the monopolist, apparently ignoring the interests of the state, seems to be not putting ordinary citizens at all. This is very noticeable under the gasification program of the subjects of the Russian Federation. According to the company itself, from 2005 to 2016, its investments in the program of gasification of Russia's regions amounted to 295.2 billion rubles. The money went to the construction of 2,046 gas pipelines with a length of more than 28 thousand kilometers, "as a result ... the average level of gasification in Russia increased from 53.3 to 67.2%."
It would seem that everything looks impressive. That's only, according to independent estimates, in total, a monopoly can spend on the program only 3% of revenue. And this is quite comparable to Gazprom's spending on advertising and sponsorship contracts. Interestingly, gasification of the country is not a priority for the company? It is possible to raise the question in a slightly different way: are they going to earn money in Gazprom simply by sending raw materials abroad, rather than expanding the number of guaranteed consumers in their country? A curious economic policy ...
You can recall other far from unquestionable waste. According to the recently concluded agreement, Gazprom will invest 100 billion rubles, almost a third of what it invested in the Russian gasification program over the decade, into "the development of gas networks in Kyrgyzstan." According to preliminary data, this raises the level of gasification in the Central Asian republic from 22 to 60%.
Of course, while this is slightly lower than the national average. But it is much better than the fact that today there are separate federal districts. Say, the Siberian and Far Eastern Federal Districts are gasified, respectively, by 5.8 and 15.8%. But the North Caucasian with an indicator of 92.2% can look at the Kirghiz from top to bottom. But it's not for nothing that Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak allows himself to say: "100% [gasification] will never happen, because in some regions we will not have a gas transportation infrastructure, because this is inefficient simply economically."
It is possible that the raw materials giant will be allowed to continue to bury billions in idle pipelines, but from the obligation to stretch the gas to everyone who wants it will be relieved. By the way, according to not so old statistics, in Russia in the 21st century every 10th city and every 2nd rural household use stove heating. This also clearly characterizes the situation in which our country is located with its "national treasure".
"Gazprom" became the first domestic state monopoly, which began to promote itself on television. Now, according to expert estimates, the company spends more than 1 billion rubles a year only on advertising on TV. This is quite comparable with the costs borne by the same article by leading manufacturers of consumer goods. However, unlike the brands of soda or chocolate, the need to advertise Gazprom is doubtful - the company still does not have competitors.
At the same time, Gazprom itself seems to be ready to advertise itself, it is even ready, as they say, through irons. According to the latest information, the monopoly may invest more than 200 million rubles in advertising on the "Horse World" TV channel by the end of the year. However, Gazprom and the horses have a certain connection. This channel belongs to the JSC "Russian Hippodromes", and the chairman of the board of directors of the company is the head of Gazprom Alexei Miller, a fan of pedigree stallions.
By the way, with the advertising of Gazprom on TV, there is one funny story. Early last year, the Federal Antimonopoly Service demanded the removal of the slogan "national treasure" from the company's commercials. According to the head of the FAS Igor Artemiev, "the property can be people, gas and so on, not the company." However, the slogan remained in its place. Later, the agency tried to explain the embarrassment: "There has been a change of emphasis and transformation of the very meaning of the company's commercial: the concept of" national treasure "is no longer associated with PJSC Gazprom, but extends to concepts from the video: taiga, rivers, mountains, spirit, will, beauty , Family, movement, traditions, light, Siberia, and the name of the company appearing at the end of the video is regarded as a signature. "
But the problem still remains. Nobody so plainly explained what sense of state monopoly to spend, by and large, the same state money to be shown on the state television still not to the gasified population?