Gazprom’s Net Profit in Q1 Jumps 44% on Higher Sales, Prices

First-quarter net income of Russia’s energy giant Gazprom rose 44% to 536 billion rubles ($8.3 billion) on higher gas sales and prices, despite a drop in export volumes, the gas producer reported on Thursday, according to Port News.

Revenue in the January-March quarter rose to 2.29 trillion rubles from 2.14 trillion a year earlier.

Gazprom is vital for Russia’s commodity-reliant economy with its sales accounting for more than 5 percent of the country’s $1.6 trillion annual GDP.

Russian gas exports have been increasingly politicized after Moscow annexed Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. A wider standoff between Russia and the West has also contributed to Moscow’s global energy expansion.

Gazprom’s sales to Europe account for around two-thirds of its total gas sales. The volumes of gas shipped to Europe declined in the first quarter to 62.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) from 71.5 bcm in January-March 2018, the firm said on Thursday.

This month, the Kremlin-controlled gas giant said it exported 64.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas to countries outside of the former Soviet Union in the first four months of 2019, 8.4 percent less than it did in the same period last year.

Gazprom’s exports to European countries and Turkey reached almost 202 billion cubic meters (bcm) last year, even though the European Commission has called for EU states to reduce their reliance on Russian energy amid wider political tensions.