When Russia began privatisation in 1991, the oil sector was divided into numerous companies. However, the gas ministry effectively left just one company, Gazprom. This behemoth remained the sole controller of exploration, reserves, production, distribution and everything associated with producing natural gas. Currently Gazprom is the major supplier of gas to Europe, delivering 28% of Europe's natural gas.
In 2009 Gazprom is set to be the most profitable company in the world. Its current market