Gazprom continues to export gas to Europe at a record pace. According to the company, in July 2017, 15.1 billion cubic meters of gas were exported to non-CIS countries. M of gas, which is 15% more than in 2016. In total since the beginning of 2017, Russian gas supplies to Europe increased by 12.6% to 110.8 billion cubic meters. M, and the total supply for the calendar year exceeded 191 billion cubic meters. For comparison: in 2016, Gazprom supplied 179.3 billion cubic meters of gas to European consumers. M of gas, which was a record figure in recent years.
The protracted period of cold weather as one of the main reasons for maintaining the increased demand for Russian gas in early June was called by Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee. On June 1, he said that 543 million cubic meters of gas would be exported to non-CIS countries during the day. M of gas, which is comparable to the winter level of supply. "We at Gazprom are so kidding - the eighth month of winter began. This is absolutely winter supplies, "- said" Interfax "his words. Miller stressed that "there have never been such volumes."
In mid-June, Gazprom's deputy chairman of board Alexander Medvedev confirmed that the company expects growth in gas exports for the year, but its estimates were more restrained than current exports. "Europe will objectively require additional volumes of gas imports that Russia is able to deliver, reliably and at competitive prices, and in the volumes that Europe needs. And our partners, large industrial groups, are vitally interested in ensuring that Russian oil and gas continue to go to Europe and their volumes increase, "Medvedev said. At the same time, he suggested that the planned volume of gas supplies to non-CIS countries in 2017 is 178 billion cubic meters. M, but the company can surpass it, bringing up to 180 billion cubic meters. M.
Alexander Sobko, an analyst at the energy center of Skolkovo business school, explains the large volumes of Russian gas exports to Europe in comparison with the record level of last year, explaining the need to create reserves. "The level of occupancy of European UGS is now 10 billion cubic meters. M lower than last year's values. And this leaves room for the preservation of record volumes of exports in conditions when oil prices remain at a low level, "says Sobko. His opinion is shared by the director of East European Gas Analysis Mikhail Korchemkin: "The winter lasted eight months and ended only in June, and then Europe began to restore gas reserves in underground storage." According to Interfax, net gas pumping out of the European UGS over the past season amounted to 66 billion cubic meters. M of gas - by 20 billion cubic meters. M more than in the season 2015/16.
However, in the next couple of months, we can expect a slowdown in the growth rate of Russian gas exports to Europe, said Dmitri Marinchenko, Director of Fitch Ratings. "In addition to the fact that Europe needs to replenish gas reserves in storage facilities, it is profitable for it to do just now. Soon, the price of Russian gas on contracts tied to the value of the oil basket, will begin to win back the rise in oil prices at the end of last year, - argues Marinchenko. "But until this happens, Europeans will try to purchase the maximum possible volumes of gas."
Reserves are also replenished in Russian UGS facilities, Marinchenko adds. According to the results of the last autumn-winter season, Gazprom reported that of the 72.1 billion cubic meters. M of gas from them was selected 47 billion cubic meters. The necessary reserves for the start of the 2017/18 season are 72.18 billion cubic meters. M.
Gazprom's production is growing faster than exports. In July 2017, it increased by more than a quarter to 33.5 billion cubic meters. M, and in January-July alone - by 19.3% to 266.3 billion cubic meters. M of gas, the company said.
Marinchenko associates high growth rates with the company's possible desire to maximize production until October. He recalls the recently adopted decision to increase the severance tax for Gazprom in the IV quarter of 2017. "Therefore, it is more profitable to fill its UGS facilities with Gazprom", Marinchenko recalls.