May 14 (Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural-gas producer, reduced exports to Europe by more than 12 percent in January through April, extending its first-quarter decline, according to two people with knowledge of the data.
Export volumes to Europe, not including former Soviet republics, fell to more than 51 billion cubic meters from 58.4 billion cubic meters a year earlier, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is preliminary and isn’t public yet.
Europe, which relies on Russia for about 25 percent of its gas, bought less fuel because of warmer-than-usual weather at the start of the year and as customers accelerated purchases in 2011 in anticipation of rising prices. Gazprom ties prices in its long-term supply contracts to oil and refined products with a time lag of as long as nine months.
A cold snap across Europe in February failed to boost first-quarter sales from a year earlier. Customers in Italy, Germany, France and other European markets complained they weren’t receiving as much gas as requested during the freeze as Russia prepared for March 4 presidential elections.
Gazprom, the world’s biggest gas producer, reduced exports to Europe 12 percent in the first quarter, two people with knowledge of data said last month. Prices for European customers jumped 19 percent to about $415 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter, they said.
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