MOSCOW - Russia approved on Friday a 15 percent increase in 2010 domestic gas prices, which will exceed a 12.3 percent rise in transportation fees and give a boost to independent gas producers, analysts say.
Russia's Gazprom has the exclusive rights to export gas and it also owns an extensive gas pipeline network in Russia. In 2008 it produced about 80 percent of gas extracted in the country.
The gas export monopoly has asked Russian Federal Tariff Service (FST) to increase by 15 percent the fee that independent producers pay for shipping gas through its pipeline network, according to a Reuters source in FST.
However, the FST only approved a 12.3 percent hike in fees for 2010, which is good news for Russian privately owned gas producers including Novatek, Russia's largest non-state natural gas producer.
Clearly, such a development would be positive for Novatek, as the transportation tariff was expected to rise in line with the gas price (up 15.0 percent), Troika Dialog said in a note.
Compared with a 15.0 increase, the proposed lower hike in transport tariffs would prop up (Novatek's) EBITDA by about $33 million, or 1.7 percent, next year.
The next year tariff rise will be higher than the Russia's Economy Ministry latest projection for 2010 inflation of 6.5-7.5 percent. (Reporting Anastasia Lyrchikova and Vladimir Soldatkin; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Dmitry Sergeyev and Simon Jessop)