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Steve Chiotakis: Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom has had a booming year. Especially the first half. Net profits rose by 83 percent. But prospects aren't so rosey for next year. From London, Stephen Beard reports.
Stephen Beard: Gazprom rode the crest of a wave in the first half of this year. The soaring price of oil buoyed up the price of natural gas. The company's profits almost tripled between April and June.
But then in July, crude prices began to fall, and today, they're down by almost 75 percent from their peak. Natural gas prices are plummeting, too.
Analyst Chris Skrebowski says for Gazprom, the year ahead will be grim:
Chris Skrebowski: With most serious commentators looking to pretty weak oil prices in the first and second quarters, that will drain money out of Gazprom all the way through to the middle of the year and slightly beyond.
Plunging energy prices have hit the Russian economy hard. The Kremlin has spent a quarter of the country's foreign currency reserves trying to stave off a collapse in the rouble.
From the European Desk in London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.