Gazprom says bottom line burned by weak gas prices

Moscow

Russian gas giant Gazprom on Wednesday announced a drop in first-quarter profits on the back of weaker gas prices in Europe, but the damage for the energy mammoth was less than expected.
Between January and March, the state-owned behemoth saw net profits fall by eight percent compared to the same period a year ago to 333 billion rubles ($5.87 billion, 5.3 billion euros).
Analysts quizzed by the Interfax news agency had predicted a steeper fall in profits.
Overall sales meanwhile grew by four percent to 1.815 trillion rubles ($32 billion, 28.7 billion euros), mainly on the back of “an increase in sales of crude oil and refined products,” the company said.
The total value of gas sales to the key markets of Europe and Turkey fell by 10 percent, as a drop in price of 20 percent was partially made up by a 13-percent increase in the volume sold.
Meanwhile, sales to the former Soviet region fell by 13 percent. Gazprom’s gas exports hit a record high last year, despite Europe looking to diversify its supply in the face of frosty relations with Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine.—AFP

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