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The pace of Gazprom’s natural gas exports’ growth to Europe has slowed in recent months to just under five percent, according to data published by the Kremlin-backed gas giant yesterday.
Gazprom revealed its natural gas exports outside the former Soviet Union bloc between January and December had increased 4.8 percent year-on-year to 178.1 billion cubic meters.
The figures are a stark contrast from double-digit increases seen earlier this year.
The company previously reported 26 percent for the first half of the year and 19.4 percent growth for January – August with shortages emerging over the autumn.
Russia’s natural gas exports have been a bitter point of contention amid soaring gas prices, supply shortages, and energy storage issues across European economies this winter.
The deepening energy crisis has even led to warnings of potential blackouts this winter.
Gazprom said the decline reflected the demand in the region and expected to generate record-high annual revenues as a consequence of the high prices in its key market.
It also said its overall gas output has increased 14.2 percent year on year to 490.4 billion cubic meters, and that it has met its contractual obligations to supply gas to European customers.
The International Energy Agency called on Gazprom in October to release more supplies to Europe, while the Yamal-Europe pipeline has recorded reverse flows away from Europe on multiple occasions this winter.
There are also concerns from the White House that Russia is using gas as a weapon, putting pressure on Germany to approve the controversial £8.4bn Nord Stream 2 pipeline by reducing supplies while seeking to cut Ukraine out of European markets.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed these claims as “politically motivated blather”.
Nevertheless, Nord Stream 2 continues to sit idle – fully completed but awaiting certification from German regulators, with the process currently delayed over governance issues.
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