London — Russia's Gazprom expects its total natural gas exports to Europe and Turkey to reach 201 Bcm in 2018, CEO Alexei Miller said Friday, a third year of record export volumes.
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Gazprom's supplies to the "Far Abroad" -- Europe and Turkey, but not the countries of the former Soviet Union -- are now close to their contractual maximum, Miller said in his annual New Year's address to workers.
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Earlier this year Gazprom said exports could reach 205 Bcm in 2018 -- up from 194 Bcm in 2017 -- but a mild start to the winter has seen weakened demand for Russian gas across Europe.
Nonetheless, Gazprom has said that its contractual arrangements with European buyers would have to be reviewed to allow for the possibility of higher supplies in the future.
"We are closely approaching the maximum annual contract quantities that we have for all export contracts to foreign countries," Miller said.
"Without a doubt, our cooperation with foreign partners will be aligned with these new realities," he said.
Miller also said Gazprom's total gas production in 2018 would be 497.6 Bcm, up 26.6 Bcm on last year.
Total Russian gas production -- including output from independent producers such as Novatek and oil companies such as Rosneft and Lukoil -- was estimated at 725 Bcm for 2018, up 4.9%, according to the Russian energy ministry.
Energy minister Alexander Novak told reporters Thursday that total gas exports -- including pipeline supplies to former Soviet Union countries and LNG exports -- will be up by 8.7% year on year in 2018 to 243.7 Bcm, according to the ministry's preliminary data.
Miller, meanwhile, told workers that Gazprom's new LNG import facility to serve the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad would be commissioned "soon".
He said the Marshal Vasilevskiy FSRU was now in place.
"We will be able to supply gas to the region not only by pipeline, but also by sea. This alternative method of gas delivery will bring the energy security of the Kaliningrad region to a new level," Miller said.
The 174,000 cu m Marshal Vasilevskiy is a purpose-built Ice Class 1A FSRU built by South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Miller also said that some 380 km of the 1,200 km Nord Stream 2 pipeline had been laid, with work carried out in the Exclusive Economic Zones of Finland and Sweden, and off the coasts of Germany and Russia.
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