Profits shot up at Gazprom in the first three months of the year, the company reported today after months of international energy price rises.
Sales at the firm rose 6.8 per cent to 1.3 trillion Russian roubles (£15.8bn) in the first quarter of 2019, even as the amount of gas it sold dropped 8.6 per cent to 158.9bn cubic metres (bcm).
Profit attributable to Gazprom shareholders reached 536bn roubles, it said, a 44 per cent boost on the same period a year ago.
As one of the country’s most important companies accounting for above five per cent of its GDP, Russia’s fortunes can rise and fall on Gazprom results.
Exports to fell to Europe, its biggest market making up 39 per cent of sales volumes but nearly two-thirds of revenues.
As Europe cuts back on coal, it has turned to Russian gas as an alternative fuel with lower carbon emissions.
But since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea the issue has become controversial for European politicians.
Gazprom is still pushing ahead with plans for a 745 mile pipeline through the Baltic Sea to pump gas directly to Germany.
Earlier this month the US administration announced it would soon hit companies involved in the project, Nord Stream 2, with new sanctions.
“The opposition to Nord Stream 2 is still very much alive and well in the United States,” energy secretary Rick Perry said during a visit to Kiev.
In the UK foreign imports have given fuel to proponents of fracking who say shale gas will allow the country to cut its reliance on other countries to supply its energy.