MOSCOW, July 3 (UPI) -- Russian natural gas company Gazprom said it increased its market share last year in the European Union by 4 percent.
Alexei Miller, the top executive at Gazprom, told shareholders during their annual meeting the company was "on top of the world" in terms international energy companies.
Contracts in 2011 with European consumers were posted at 5.2 trillion cubic feet, an 8.2 increase over 2010 levels. Miller said this meant Gazprom held 27 percent of the European market share in 2011, a 4 percent increase over the previous year.
Russia sends a significant part of that market share through a gas transit network in Ukraine. Bilateral spats in 2009 exposed vulnerabilities in Gazprom's export routes, prompting a push to diversify the regional energy sector.
Europe is pushing ahead with its Southern Corridor, a network of pipelines meant to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector. Gazprom, meanwhile, is sending gas through its Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea while pressing its partners to embrace South Stream, a pipeline meant for southern Europe.
Miller said his company was a reliable energy partner, noting gas reserves reached a record 254 trillion cubic feet. In terms of gas production, Miller said production from one conventional natural gas field in Russia was comparable to the entire shale natural gas potential of the United States, considered the world leader in shale reserves.