Russian gas supplies to Europe up 6 percent this year, sets new record

Gazprom, the biggest gas supplier to Europe, is set to break another record high in shipments this year as it advances with construction of a pipeline across the Baltic Sea to further increase its potential. Photo courtesy of Gazprom

Dec. 2 (UPI) — Gazprom, majority owned by the Russian government and the biggest natural gas supplier to Europe, has increased its shipments to the European Union by 6.2 percent so far this year.

“Following the record year of 2017, the company continues to ramp up its exports,” Gazprom said in a late Thursday statement. The estimate is based on data from the start of the year until Nov. 28, the company said.

In 2017, Gazprom supplied 192.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe and Turkey, with as much as 53 percent of that going to Germany. The portion going to the second biggest importer, Turkey, which is not part of the European Union, was 29 percent. Most of Turkey is in Asia, but its territory also takes up a part of Europe.

The information was provided during a meeting in Moscow between Gazprom’s chairman Alexey Miller and the European Union envoy Markus Ederer over advancements in the gas production center in the Yamal peninsula.

The Yamal peninsula is an area still being developed. Production there is expected to reach 360 billion cubic meters of gas per year, up from the current 80 billion cubic meters of gas per year. With 26.5 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves, its development is key for future European Union exports.

Gazprom said Thursday it has already laid 186 miles of pipeline in the Nord Stream 2 project that will be needed to move the Yamal gas to north Germany. The pipeline, which will cross the Baltic sea and have a total extension of 746 miles, will move up to 55 billion cubic meters annually.

Once finished, the capacity of Nord Stream, which was built in 2011, and Nord Stream 2 would be a total 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

The Nord Stream 2 project helps Russia increase its ability to export natural gas to Europe while avoiding Ukraine, a country with which it had a conflict in 2014.

The two pipelines are in addition to an existing pipeline over land that crosses Belarus and Poland on its way to Germany and has a capacity of 32.9 billion cubic meters of gas.

Gazprom also discussed advances to another pipeline project underway, named Turkstream, to be completed next year. The project will help it increase its capacity to ship natural gas to Turkey by going across the Black Sea.

Russian gas exports to Germany started in 1973, and since then the country’s dependence on Russian energy has risen.

U.S. President Donald Trump, in September, said during a speech before the United Nations General Assembly that Germany was becoming “totally dependent” on Russian gas exports.

Germany has announced plans to build a $500 million liquid natural gas terminal in the north of the country, which is expected to open by 2022. It would be its first LNG terminal and would help the country to import natural gas from other parts of the world.


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