MOSCOW, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- Though output was enough to satisfy export demands, Russian energy company Gazprom said its production for 2015 was less than the previous year.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin to discuss corporate results for last year. Miller told the president that full-year gas production amounted to about 1.47 billion cubic feet, which was less than in 2014.
"This was sufficient to cover in full reliable and stable supplies for export markets and for our own country's needs," he told the president.
Gazprom meets about a quarter of the gas needs for Europe. Miller said Germany was the lead consumer, with demand growing more than 40 percent from the start of last year. Supplies to France are up 73 percent.
"There is therefore no doubt the projects to build new gas transport routes to Europe, to northwest Europe, are economically justified and backed up by the growing demand that we see right now," the CEO said.
Gazprom aims to add more infrastructure to its twin Nord Stream natural gas line running through the Baltic Sea to Germany. A project for southeastern Europe dubbed Turkish Stream, a scaled-back version of its South Stream project, has faced obstacles because of diplomatic strains between Moscow and Ankara.
Maros Sefcovic, a lead energy official in the European Commission, warned last week some countries in Eastern Europe may be vulnerable to the control Gazprom has over the regional energy sector. Rows between Russia and Ukraine, through which most of the Soviet-era gas pipelines run, have threatened supplies to downstream consumers in Europe, prompting a bloc-wide push for diversification.
Sefcovic said last year the European community was examining new strategies for bringing liquefied natural gas to the European market.
Cheniere Energy, which last week shipped the first-ever batch of LNG sourced from the United States, signed a sales agreement last year with French energy company EDF. The French company said securing U.S. gas would help diversify a European energy sector that depends heavily on Russia.