Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller expects to achieve record gas sales to Europe, despite US liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports.
The de-facto Russian gas export monopoly has increased its market share in Europe to around 34 per cent, despite the political fallout from Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Miller told reporters in St Petersburg that Gazprom planned to start gas deliveries to China next year as the company’s gas transit contract with Ukraine expired.
“I think that speaking about 2019, considering [plans] to put into operation gas transport capacities, we can refer to it as the mainline, fateful and decisive in terms of conditions in which we will work in the mid-term perspective,” he said, according to the official Kremlin mouthpiece, Tass.
“I think one can agree that this is going to be a landmark period,” he added.
The Kremlin ally said that gas exports to Turkey and Europe beyond the former Soviet Union may exceed 205 billion cubic metres (bcm) this year, up from 194.4 bcm last year, which was also a record-high.
Deputy chief Alexander Medvedev told Gazprom’s shareholders: “There are prospects and the prospects are related to falling domestic gas production in Europe, while demand for gas is rising.
“Gazprom has all the capacity to supply gas to Europe in the amount Europe needs.”
The US shipped its first cargo of LNG to Europe last year, which Washington hopes will undermine Russia’s stranglehold on European energy. Some European nations, including Lithuania and Poland, have subsequently started to cut back on their exports of Russian pipeline gas by importing from the US.
However, US LNG supplies depleted rapidly during the cold spell earlier in the year, leading it to make emergency imports of Russian fuel from Yamal in the Arctic, contravening its own sanctions.
Miller said high production and transport costs would prevent the US being competitive in Europe, adding that Europe last year only consumer 2 million tonnes of US LNG.
Extending Gazprom’s dominance over the Balkans, Miller said yesterday (Friday) that Gazprom planned to start supplying Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary via a new gas link after it finished the second line of the TurkStream gas pipeline running under the Black Sea from Russia.
TurkStream will have two lines, each with a capacity of 15.75 bcm per year each, with the first supplying Turkey and the second going to the Balkans.
After some debate about which border the second pipeline would head towards, it was announced in May that it would serve Bulgaria, not Greece.
Three giant Gazprom pipelines are nearing completion. Picture credit: YouTube