Gazprom says gas exports to Europe up in 2015 despite tensions

11th January 2016, Comments 0 comments

Gas exports by Russian giant Gazprom to Europe rose by some eight percent over the past year, the company said Monday, despite ongoing tensions with the West over the crisis in Ukraine.

The head of the state-run firm Alexei Miller announced it had exported 159.4 billion cubic metres of gas outside the ex-Soviet Union in 2015, some 11.8 billion cubic metres more than the previous year.

Supplies to Germany rose by some 17 percent to hit a record 45.3 billion cubic metres, while deliveries to France were up by almost 37 percent, to Italy by more than 12 percent and Britain by some 10 percent.

The increase came despite tensions with European Union over the crisis in Ukraine that have seen Brussels slap sanctions on Moscow and the Kremlin respond with an embargo on food products.

The European Union has been seeking to lessen its dependence on Russian gas and has blocked the South Stream pipeline project from Russia to southern Europe and has probed Gazprom for abusing its dominant position.

Gazprom, however, said that the rise in supplies was down to "a fall in the volume of gas produced in Europe" and that the company forecasted "this tendency would continue to strengthen."

Miller insisted the increase further underlined the need for the controversial gas pipeline project Nordstream 2 with Germany that has seen other European nations accuse Berlin of selfishly seeking supply routes with Moscow while telling them to cut ties.

© 2016 AFP

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