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Private Russian gas firms shaken as Gazprom cuts domestic purchases

MOSCOW -- Russia's private natural gas producers took a hit Monday after the state-controlled giant Gazprom cut the domestic market purchases it makes from them to compensate any shortfall in supplies.

Analysts said the decision could eliminate between a quarter and more than half of the monthly gas sales made by independent firms such as Novatek and Lukoil, adding up to nearly half-a-billion dollars in losses for the year.

A spokesman for the energy giant said Gazprom's decision would extend until further notice on grounds of “currently unstable gas demand on the domestic market.”

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