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Gazprom Says Russian Gas Exports to Europe Up 8% in 2015

Source: Reuters 1/11/2016, Location: Asia

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Russia's top natural gas producer Gazprom said that its pipeline gas exports to Europe rose by 8 percent last year, thanks to falling gas production in the European Union.

Russia remains the largest gas supplier to the European Union, accounting for around a third of its gas needs, despite political tensions over the conflict in Ukraine.

Exports by Gazprom - as measured for Turkey and the European Union, excluding the three former Soviet Baltic states - rose to 159.4 billion cubic metres (bcm) last year from over 147 bcm in 2014, the company said, citing Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller.

That is still less than 162 bcm of exports in 2013.

Russian gas exports have become increasingly politicised due the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the traditional transit route for shipping Russian gas to the EU.

But a desire for secure supplies of cheap gas has offset some EU nations' efforts to seek alternative energy sources.

The gas price in Gazprom's long-term contracts is pegged to the price of oil with a six- to nine-month time lag. Oil prices have plummeted by more than 70 percent after peaking in the middle of 2014, due to oversupply.

Miller said that last year, Russian gas supplies to Germany increased by 17.1 percent, by 12.6 percent to Italy, by 36.8 percent to France, by 10.2 percent to Great Britain, and by 11.5 percent to Austria.

Germany, Russia's top gas buyer, purchased 45.3 bcm of Russian gas last year, an all-time high.

Miller also said the rise in exports was a "stark confirmation of the need for the construction of the Nord Stream-II gas pipeline".

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