MOSCOW, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom said net sales of natural gas to European consumers during the first nine months of 2012 increased by 4 percent.
Gazprom, the largest natural gas company in the world, announced Thursday that net profits during the third quarter doubled to more than $10 billion, though profits fell overall during the first nine months of the year ending Sept. 30.
The company said net sales to European consumers and other countries increased 4 percent to $35.2 billion for the nine months ending Sept. 30. This was primarily because of a 9 percent increase in price. Actual natural gas deliveries to the region declined by 3 percent during the reporting period, or 120 billion cubic feet, the company stated.
Europe is searching for ways to reduce its dependency on Russian natural gas by courting Caspian and Middle Eastern suppliers. The European Commission, meanwhile, said it was investigating the company's anti-competitive practices in some Eastern European countries.
For domestic consumers, Gazprom said net sales increased 1 percent to $16.7 billion, though that was attributed to a 7 percent increase in natural gas prices as gas sales declined by 6 percent, or 406 billion cubic feet.