Russian pipeline gas exports to Europe fall to post-Soviet lows

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Model of a natural gas pipeline and Gazprom logo, July 18, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

By Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian gas exports to Europe via pipelines plummeted to a post-Soviet low in 2022 as the country’s biggest customer cut imports due to the conflict in Ukraine. and a major pipeline was damaged by mysterious explosions, Gazprom data (MCX:) Reuters calculations show.

The European Union, traditionally Russia’s largest consumer of oil and gas, has for years talked about cutting its dependence on Russian energy, but Brussels got serious after the Kremlin sent troops entered Ukraine in February.

State-controlled Gazprom, citing CEO Alexei Miller, a longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin, said its exports outside the former Soviet Union would reach 100.9 billion cubic meters (bcm) in this year.

That is a drop of more than 45% from 185.1 bcm in 2021 and includes supply to China via the Power of Siberia pipeline, through which Gazprom supplied 10.39 bcm last year.

Russia’s direct gas exports to Germany, Europe’s largest economy, were halted in September following explosions at the Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic Sea.

Sweden and Denmark both concluded that the four leaks on Nord Stream 1 and 2 were caused by the explosions, but did not say who might be responsible. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the damage an act of sabotage.

Russia has accused the British navy of being behind the explosions, an allegation London says is false.

Russian gas exports through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline hit a record high of 59.2 bcm last year.

100.9 bcm of Russian gas supply pipeline, which Gazprom defines as exports to “far abroad”, or outside the former Soviet Union, is one of the lowest since the collapse of the Soviet state in 1991.

According to Gazprom Export, one of Gazprom’s previous lows after the Soviet era for gas sales to “far abroad” was 117.4 bcm in 1995.

Meanwhile, Russia has increased sales of liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipped by sea, mainly thanks to the Novatek-led Yamal LNG plant in the Arctic.

According to government agency Rosstat, Russia’s LNG production increased by nearly 10% in January-November to 29.7 million tons.

And Russia has managed to make up for lower gas imports into Europe due to higher energy prices, with oil and gas budget revenues increasing by more than a third in the first 10 months of the year.

Gazprom also said its 2022 gas output is expected at 412.6 bcm, down from 514.8 bcm in 2021, when it hit a 13-year high.

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