In Russia, there is a popular sign: every month something becomes more expensive. And it never fails. So in July, gas tariffs will have to rise once again. Why this is happening and what will be the result – FederalPress understood.
One more time
From July 1, it is planned to increase gas tariffs for industry in Russia – the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has developed a corresponding draft government decree. Far from all companies that extract “blue” fuel in our country will be allowed to increase tariffs, but only Gazprom and its affiliates. They will be allowed to increase tariffs by 5%.
The FAS has also drafted another government decree, which now calls for an increase in gas tariffs for the needs of the Russian people. How much they are planned to increase – there is no word on it, although it can be assumed that we are talking about 3%.
There are reasons for such a bold claim: when choosing the value of the indexation of gas tariffs, the FAS takes into account the forecast of Russia’s socio-economic development for the next three years. The last time it was published by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development in September 2021, it provided for an increase in tariffs for “blue” fuels by 5% for industrial consumers and by 3% for individuals.
Gazprom’s tariff increases are happening with enviable regularity: in August 2020, it raised them at a single rate for industry and people of 3%, in July 2021 – by a similar amount. They are now planned to grow with differentiation from two major consumer groups.
According to industry experts, it is impossible not to increase gas tariffs – it is difficult for our national treasure, as Gazprom was named in a half-forgotten advertisement, to maintain an extensive system of gas pipelines and at the same time implement investment projects.
“Inflation in Russia, projected for 2022, could be around 17%. This means that the cost of maintaining the gas infrastructure will also increase. “And Gazprom’s gas infrastructure involves the whole of Russia and requires ever-increasing maintenance costs.” – explains Artem TuzovExecutive Director of the Capital Market Department of Univer Capital.
He also drew attention to the need for Gazprom to reorient exports from Europe to Asia in the medium term, to develop liquefied natural gas supplies. Solving such problems requires money and rather large.
“FAS ‘proposal for a 5% price increase raises questions in this situation. Real inflation is well beyond officially stated values. “And now the increase in tariffs in the infrastructure sector means a further spread in waves.” Tatyana Kozlova, SRG Group Senior Project Manager, expressed a completely different view.
It is difficult to disagree with her: in 2021, Gazprom received a record net profit of 2.6 trillion rubles, while in 2020 it was a loss of 707 billion rubles. This year, world gas prices have skyrocketed and Gazprom can make even more money from them, even despite falling gas extraction in Europe.
Unjustified price increase
Experts are also divided on the potential impact of rising gas tariffs on the industry: some say it will not work, others say it will.
“Our industry will shift these costs (increased gas tariffs – ed.) To the cost price. So in the end, consumers will pay for it. Mostly foreign, as our economy is export-oriented. “Gas in the domestic market is much cheaper than in the world market and our industry will not suffer.” – says Artem Tuzov.
On the other hand, Valery Polkhovsky, a senior analyst at the Forex Club, sees potential problems in a number of industries: chemical and metallurgical companies, whose “blue” fuel consumption is traditionally very high, may suffer from tariff increases.
However, as for the impact of the forthcoming tariff increase on the population, all the experts unanimously stated that they would not feel anything special about themselves. Like, tariffs are already low and will not increase much.
“Gas does not get significant amounts from a Russian’s salary. In Russia, this is a public resource and, incidentally, not all homes have gas. “Panel houses are not gasified”, – said Artem Tuzov.
It is true that there is a small “but” that no one paid attention to: FAS proposes to the government to increase wholesale tariffs. They will also have to add payment for transmission via gas distribution networks and for supply and marketing services provided by Gazprom regional subsidiaries. And eventually retail prices will be higher than wholesale prices.
And let the average Russian pay 200-210 rubles or more for this every month after the increase in the price of gas (instead of the previous 180-190 rubles), combined with falling purchasing power of his salary, upcoming index adjustment of housing and utility bills in July and expected growth Unemployment will not be much fun for him.
Smooth only on paper
Even less optimistic is the analysis of the situation with the gasification of the areas of our state. Officially, everything is fine with us – according to last year’s results, the level of gasification in Russia reached 72%.
In reality, however, it varies greatly from region to region. Thus, in the Moscow region it is close to 100%, although natural gas has not yet been supplied to many villages. At the same time, in Karelia it is 8% (!).
A paradox is generally emerging in the Murmansk region. The level of gasification in it is 38%, but it does not have at least one primitive gas supply network, the residents use liquefied hydrocarbon gases delivered to the tanks by rail. Authorities have repeatedly discussed it with the federal center, Gazprom and Novatek, and have considered building a main gas pipeline to supply cities and towns in the region. With potential “blue” fuel consumption in the Murmansk region at 6.5 billion cubic meters per year, there is no strong gas pipeline at all and Gazprom does not have a separate gasification program for it, which it has for other parts of Russia.
The Kaliningrad region is generally supplied with liquefied natural gas imported by ship. The long-suffering Nord Stream 2 is in a state of inactivity not far from it and it would be right to extend a branch from it to the area, so that it does not depend on the arrival schedule of marine gas ships and the vagaries of the weather in the area. the Baltic.
In the context of the current sanctions and the fall of supplies in Europe, Gazprom should expand gasification within our country. In any case, experts do not rule out such a scenario.
“In the context of the reduction of gas exports abroad, the rate of gasification in Russia will accelerate. “However, it will not be possible to replace export revenues with domestic consumption without raising tariffs, as the cost of gas on the world market is much more expensive.” – point out analysts of “Freedom Finance”.
It turns out that for rapid gasification of Russia, tariffs must rise sharply, then both factories and ordinary citizens will suffer and the economy will fall into recession. Or, by increasing them slightly, we run the risk of waiting a long time for gas to reach many villages, towns and cities (even Krasnoyarsk runs on coal). It would have been easier if Gazprom had cut unnecessary costs, say, the salary of an overcrowded administration, and then no annual indexation would have been required and there would have been enough funds to expedite the installation of new gas pipelines to connect the regions and houses in them.
Photo: FederalPress / Polina Zinovieva