MOSCOW, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Russian gas monopoly Gazprom could in 2011 reach a level of production not seen since world markets were hit by the recession in 2008, an executive said.
The recession that started in 2008 hit energy markets hard as consumers, facing tough economic times, cut back on energy usage. Crude oil prices hit a high near $150 per barrel in July 2008 before slumping to less than one-third those prices by the end of that year.
Alexei Miller, the chief executive officer at Russian energy company Gazprom, said gas production was set to reach 2008 levels by the end of the year, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.
"If the Russian economy revival rates remain the same, by the end of 2011 we will be able to reach the pre-crisis levels of gas production," Miller was quoted as saying.
Gazprom produced around 19.4 trillion cubic feet of gas in 2008. In 2010, the company produced 17.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, about 10 percent more than it did in 2009.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency states that Russia ranks first in the world in terms of proven natural gas reserves and production.