The Russian company increased its gas supplies to Europe by almost 30 percent in the first period of 2021.

In the first 2.5 months of 2021, Gazprom’s exports to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) rose by 28.3 percent to 42.9 billion cubic metres, the company stated in a press release. The company notes that the high demand for gas, occasioned by this year’s frosty winter, shows no sign of flagging in the second half of March.

In January 2021, the countries with the fastest-growing needs for Russian pipeline gas were Bulgaria, Italy and Croatia.

According to the Federal Customs Service, Bulgaria imported 231.14 million cubic metres of gas, 174 times more than in January 2020. Croatia’s imports of Russian gas in the first month of this year shot up by 193 per cent (nearly 3 times) year-on-year to 158.556 million cubic metres. Italy received 1.994 billion cubic metres of gas in January, 181 per cent (2.8 times) more than in January 2020.

High growth in purchases from Gazprom was shown by Poland (up by 89.36% year-on-year to 1.019 billion cubic metres), Denmark (up by 75.12%, to 175.2 billion cubic metres) and France (up by 70%, to 1.2 billion cubic metres).

The largest sales volume of gas went to Russia’s largest customer, Germany, receiving 4.086 billion cubic metres of gas. However, this is only a 4.7 percent rise compared to Gazprom gas purchased by that country in January last year and 16 percent less than in December 2020. Germany has clearly stored up huge reserves in its underground storage facilities. In January this year, Italy ranked second in terms of EU gas purchases, followed by France in third place.

Despite increasing demand for Russian gas this winter amid severe cold weather, many European countries reduced imports from Russia in January. On an annualized basis, Austria reduced purchases by 51.2 per cent; the Netherlands by 54.86 per cent; Hungary by 34 per cent. They too used accumulated stocks, while also drawing on LNG supplies from other exporters.

In two and a half months, Gazprom’s gas supplies to Germany increased by 28.7 percent, to Turkey – by 80.5 percent, to Finland – by 74.2 percent, to Serbia – by 61.5 percent, to Romania – by 77.7 percent, to Bulgaria – by 52.1 percent, and to Greece – by 24.5 percent.

By Martin Chomky (picture: press materials)