The boss of the Russian gas giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller, recognized on Wednesday a “very difficult” year 2022 for his group, marked by a significant change in strategy, exports turning to Asia in the midst of a crisis between Moscow and the West.
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“I want to emphasize right away that 2022, of course, has proven to be very, very difficult,” Mr. Miller said during a year-end press conference call.
The Gazprom boss said he noted "radical changes in the energy markets", driven by the consequences of international sanctions against Moscow in retaliation for its military intervention in its Ukrainian neighbor.
In 2021, Russia was, via Gazprom, the world's largest gas exporter and the European Union's largest gas supplier, but the 27 EU member countries have since greatly reduced their imports, to the tune of less than 10 % of all their gas imported, according to Brussels.
Over the whole of 2022, Gazprom, majority-owned by the Russian state, “extracted 412.6 billion cubic meters of gas”, including just over 100 billion m3 intended for export, said said Mr. Miller. This is a lower level than in 2021.
In a press release published on December 1, Gazprom announced that it had extracted "376.9 billion m3 of gas" between January and November 2022, i.e. nearly 20% less than in the same period of the previous year.
Exports to countries outside the CIS (the Commonwealth of Independent States, which brings together several countries of the former USSR) had even fallen by 44.5% compared to the same period in 2021, to 95.2 billion m3.
Mr. Miller, in his speech, also welcomed Wednesday the inauguration on December 21 of the Kovykta gas field, a vast field located in Siberia which should make it possible to significantly increase exports to China.
Russia has been trying for several years to increase its gas supplies to the energy-intensive Chinese economy, and has accelerated this movement in recent months amid international sanctions targeting it.
"Now, the Siberian Force gas pipeline (which connects Russia and China) is in service over its entire length, more than 3,000 kilometers," noted Mr. Miller.