The share of natural gas processing in 2019 does not exceed 10 % of the total level of gas production (natural gas and associated petroleum gas). Besides that, about 30 gas processing plants (GPPs) are engaged in processing natural gas in Russia, while the world’s capacity is 1,800 enterprises. Experts of the International Energy Agency (IEA) predict a significant increase in demand for gas products by 2030 (more than 40 %), which confirms the prospects for development of this direction of the gas industry in the long term. At the same time, the key drivers of growth for gas chemical products by 2025 will be growth in consumption of helium (12–15 % per year), methanol (7.9 % per year), ammonia (5.85 % per year), ethylene (3.3–3.4 % per year), polyethylene (3.8 % per year) and ethylene oxide (4.7 % per year). From this standpoint, the goal of this study is to substantiate the development of gas processing and gas chemical production as a strategic priority for long-term development of the gas industry in the Russian Federation. To achieve this goal, we have assessed the current state and presented an analysis of strategic opportunities, threats, strengths and weaknesses (OTSW) of the long-term development of this direction in Russia. Based on the results of the analysis, we have formulated the strategic priority and presented groups of effectiveness (social and economic) depending on long-term implementation. To assess economic efficiency using the example of economic growth of the Russian Federation, we have carried out econometric modeling of autoregression with distributed lag (ARDL), whose evaluation demonstrates the positive multiplicative effect of exported gas chemical products (with ammonia as an example) on GDP growth in both short and long term. We have also confirmed that all groups of effectiveness of this strategic priority comply with strategic national interests and priorities.