“Gazprom and the government have long had a close relationship, but the revolving door between them is spinning especially fast this year: Medvedev, 42, replaces Putin as president; Putin becomes prime minister, replacing Viktor Zubkov; and Zubkov is expected to take Medvedev’s place as Gazprom’s chairman at a general shareholders meeting in June”, the International Herald Tribune reports.
Medvedev and Putin “are as close to a dream team as Gazprom could ever hope for,” said Jonathan Stern, a British energy analyst to the newspaper. With energy prices continuing to hit record highs, Gazprom is more influential than ever, both at home and abroad. Gazprom says that before 2014 it will surpass Exxon Mobil as the world’s largest publicly traded company a goal that Medvedev himself endorsed before he became president. With both Gazprom and the Russian political elite making shipping and offshore oil extraction top priorities, the Barents Sea and the High North look set move even higher on the Russian agenda.