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Gazprom sees gas share in Europe growing further in coming years: Miller

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Russia's Gazprom expects gas market trends of recent years -- that saw its share on the European gas market increasing -- to continue over the next 10 years, despite ongoing changes and stagnation in the markets, CEO Alexei Miller said Friday.

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"In 10 years, those trends, which have been seen in the past several years, will persist," he said, speaking at an investment forum in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"Those trends are very very positive for us in respect of the market [share]. Starting from 2010, the share of Russian gas in the EU's consumption rose to 30% from 23%," Miller said.

"What is even more remarkable is the fact that Gazprom's share in Europe's overall gas imports will exceed 64% in 2014, gaining 17% over the last four years."

Gazprom's supplies to Europe have been rising as gas production in Europe and supplies from other sources continue to decline.

Another factor that likely sparked the increase in gas purchases is the looming risk of possible disruptions in gas transits via Ukraine.

In June, Russia halted gas deliveries to its western neighbor as Kiev refused to pay a $5 billion debt for gas already supplied amid a gas price dispute.

The talks have brought no resolution so far.

Miller added that he is confident that Russian gas deliveries to Europe will grow further, getting an even bigger share in the market in the next 10 years.

"The most important thing ... we can say for sure is that we can meet European demand in full," he said.

This will happen even though Gazprom expects to start sending significant volumes of natural gas to the Asian markets, he said.

Earlier this month, Gazprom held an official ceremony to mark the start of construction of the so-called eastern route to China, dubbed Power of Siberia, to send 38 billion cubic meters/year of gas to China, with first deliveries expected in 2019.

Gazprom is also negotiating a 30 Bcm/year contract for supplies via a so-called western route, dubbed Altai.

Earlier this week, Miller said there is a possibility of supplying between 30 Bcm/year and 100 Bcm/year via this route to China.

In 2013, Gazprom raised its gas exports to Europe by 16% to 161.5 Bcm -- despite lower overall demand in the region -- because of disruption to Libyan supplies to Italy and lower Norwegian exports to northern Europe, as well as declining production within the EU itself.

--Nadia Rodova,
--Edited by Jonathan Fox,