Gazprom CEO: Russia is Europe’s Energy Guardian

As Europe grapples with extreme cold, Gazprom, the continent’s biggest natural gas supplier, is using the situation to highlight its importance.

In an emailed reply to questions by Bloomberg, Alexey Miller, the chief executive officer of the Moscow-based energy giant boasted his company’s capabilities.

“The deep freeze has shown once again that only Gazprom is capable of increasing gas supplies to European customers to maximum levels at a breakneck speed,” he said. “There’s no other supplier that could cope with the task.”

Europe is Gazprom’s main market, with the state-run exporter ending February with record-high shipments to the continent. Russia has been boosting gas supplies to unprecedented levels as the region’s demand increases and domestic production drops, leading to concerns it is using the fuel as a political lever to pressure critics and reward allies.

The recent cold snap that rattled energy markets across Europe boosted Gazprom’s daily exports from Feb. 18 to Feb. 28 by more than 16 percent, or 99.2 million cubic meters a day. That’s higher than supplies to Italy, Gazprom’s second-biggest market in the European Union, according to Miller.

Overall exports to Europe last month jumped to 14.8 billion cubic meters, up 7.9 percent from a year earlier, Miller said. That doesn’t include Turkey, which Gazprom usually adds in its data for the region.

Gazprom’s plan to build two new pipeline routes to the region, Nord Stream 2 under the Baltic Sea and Turkish Stream under the Black Sea, would increase the sustainability of supplies and the EU’s energy security, he said.