FEW firms have more power to heat up the cauldron of global geopolitics than Gazprom, the state-backed Russian energy producer. It supplies more than a third of the natural gas that Europeans use for power generation, heating and cooking, creating what many—especially Americans—see as an unhealthy dependence (see chart). It has used its strength to bully countries which are out of favour with the Kremlin, such as Ukraine and Poland. And it is engaged in a growing rivalry with American exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe and China, a competition which potentially adds to the world’s trade tensions.
The firm also revels in its bad-boy image. When its...Continue reading