OAO Gazprom, which provides about a quarter of Europe’s natural gas, increased exports to the region and Turkey to a record this year as customers won price reductions and colder weather boosted demand.
Supplies rose 16 percent to 161.5 billion cubic meters in 2013, excluding volumes traded by the Moscow-based company’s European units, Gazprom Export said today in an e-mailed statement, citing preliminary data. The previous record was 160 billion cubic meters in 2008, according to the company’s 2012 financial report.
Russian gas exports have rebounded after a slump in 2012 as a colder-than-usual start to this year in Europe depleted inventory levels. European customers including RWE AG (RWE), Germany’s second-biggest utility, and Italy’s Eni SpA won lower gas prices under their long-term supply contracts with the Russian gas exporter. Gazprom also benefited from Europe’s dwindling supply options as producers of liquefied natural gas diverted their fuel to Asia, where prices reached a record in February and are higher than in Europe.
Gazprom’s shipments to Germany, its largest customer in the European Union, increased by more than 20 percent to levels last reached before the 2008 economic crisis curbed demand, according to the spokeswoman. Supplies to Italy jumped by more than 60 percent, she said.
The average price that Gazprom charged its European customers declined to “slightly above” $380 per 1,000 cubic meters, according to Gazprom Export. That compares with $385 in 2012 and $383 in 2011, according to Gazprom’s 2012 financial report.
Gazprom declined to comment on how much gas was supplied in Russia and former Soviet republics. Shipments declined 9 percent and 16 percent, respectively, in the first nine months of the year from the same period of 2012.
European LNG imports declined by 23 percent in the first 10 months of 2013 and supplies will continue to be shipped away from Europe next year, Trevor Sikorski, head of natural gas, coal and carbon at Energy Aspects Ltd., said in a Dec. 20 research report.
“Our deep-dive analysis into global gas markets also highlights a further 8 percent year-on-year growth in Europe’s ‘Call on Gazprom’ for 2014,” analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., led by Oswald Clint, said in a Dec. 18 report.