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Gazprom's Turmoil, From Rivals to Prices to an EU Probe

An employee adjusts a valve at the Gazprom gas compressor facility in Volokolamsk, Russia
An employee adjusts a valve at the Gazprom gas compressor facility in Volokolamsk, RussiaPhotograph by Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Is this the end of Gazprom as we knew it? For years, the world’s largest natural-gas company has kept Europe hooked on Russian gas supplies, while enjoying a near-monopoly in its home market.

Suddenly, though, Fortress Gazprom seems to be under assault from every direction. On Sept. 5, European Union authorities announced an antitrust investigation of Gazprom’s long-term gas supply contracts in Central and Eastern Europe. The next day, the company announced first-quarter profits fell 24 percent to 357.8 billion rubles ($11 billion), as European exports slumped and some customers renegotiated contracts to win more-favorable terms.