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Russia mulls more answers to gas shortages

MOSCOW, May 5 (UPI) -- Moscow may consider ways to ensure a steady delivery of gasoline to local entities if the market doesn't stabilize, the prime minister's office said Thursday.

The government raised the gasoline export tariff to a nearly 44 percent to combat local shortages that began in mid-May in some regions.

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The Federal Anti-monopoly Service, the government's competition watchdog, has alleged large oil firms are operating a cartel, RIA Novosti reported.

"If when monitoring ... we do not see any stabilization, we will take additional measures, primarily with regard to crude," Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin told government officials.

Government officials have said they think the introduction of exchange trade in oil products will help regulate the market and ordered companies to sell 15 percent of their products through the exchanges, RIA Novosti said.

Sechin also criticized state-run gas giant Gazprom, which owns a refinery, for not participating in exchange trade.

"A lack of work through the exchange creates conditions for setting inappropriate prices," he said, "which is why officials from oil refineries [that] are not part of vertically integrated companies are participating in the work of the government commission about their failure to participate in exchange trade today."

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