Russian gas exports to Europe surge 30% in 2021 as harsh winter forces foreign consumers to boost energy purchases
Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom increased shipments of natural gas to Europe by 30.7% in the first quarter of the current year, preliminary data shows.
The impressive year-on-year surge, to nearly 53 billion cubic meters, is reportedly due to the cold (in European terms) winter season. In March, the shipments totaled 18.2 billion cubic meters, reaching an all-time high, the company said.
Germany, the biggest importer of Russian gas, nearly tripled its purchases in the first three months of 2021. Most of supplies were reportedly delivered via the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which runs under the Baltic Sea from Russia directly to Germany, bypassing the neighboring states.
Exports to Serbia saw a significant boost of 71.3%, while sales to Bulgaria and Greece surged 52.4% and 23.4% respectively once the Turkish Stream gas pipeline became operational.
Romania, which has repeatedly spoken of its energy self-sufficiency, increased purchases of Russian gas by an enormous 90%. The supplies are carried out through Ukraine and Moldova, a much more expensive method than the possible delivery via the Turkish Stream.
Gazprom’s exports to Turkey more than doubled in the first quarter of 2021. A surge of 106.6% left the company the country’s number one energy supplier, despite diversification efforts undertaken by Ankara. So far, energy imports from Azerbaijan have failed to squeeze Russian gas from the Turkish market.
In 2020, Gazprom cut gas exports to 179.3 billion cubic meters, as the Covid-19 pandemic had a high negative impact on demand for energy among international consumers.