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Gazprom Says Gas Trends So Far This Year Back Up Export Forecast

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller said trends so far this year bare out the biggest natural-gas producer’s prior forecast that exports will recover to 2011 levels amid colder-than-usual March weather in Europe.

“If the trend that we have seen since the beginning of the year continues, I think that our forecast is realistic,” Miller said. “There is still lots of time ahead. We will see how the market will act. So far the trends are very favorable for gas.”

The Moscow-based company, supplier of about a quarter of Europe’s gas, increased exports 6 percent in the first quarter from the same period a year earlier, while March deliveries rose 30 percent, he said. The shipments grew 50 percent in the last week of March, and were 60 percent higher some days, he said.

Exports fell 7.5 percent to 138.8 billion cubic meters last year as European economies slowed and countries relied on their own reserves or cheaper coal. This year March was colder than typical in Germany, Gazprom’s biggest market in western Europe, as well as in the U.K., France and the Nordic region.

European spot prices are “very favorable,” above those in Gazprom’s long-term contracts, Miller said after returning from Amsterdam, where he signed deals with Royal Dutch Shell and Nederlandse Gasunie NV during President Vladimir Putin’s visit.

Gazprom and Gasunie yesterday agreed to study expanding the Nord Stream pipeline and building a link to the U.K. It will study possible joint exploration and output with Shell in the Russian Arctic shelf and a deep-water block outside the country.

To contact the reporters on this story: Anna Shiryaevskaya in Moscow at ashiryaevska@bloomberg.net Olga Tanas in Moscow at otanas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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