* Will restrict exports due to domestic demand
* Russia experiencing severe cold snap
* 8 pct of Italy’s requests could not be met (Adds detail, background)
MOSCOW, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom will restrict gas exports to Europe, its largest foreign market, to cover an increase in domestic demand caused by a cold snap, Interfax news agency quoted a gas industry source as saying.
The source said 8 percent of Italy’s request for Russian gas could not be met on Tuesday, while supplies through the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which transits Poland and supplies the German market, were down 10 percent from recent levels.
Representatives of Gazprom and its export arm were not immediately available for comment.
Gazprom exported 150 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe in 2011, covering around a quarter of the region’s demand for the fuel, with Germany, Turkey and Italy the largest export destinations. [IDn:nL5E8CU1NX]
Large parts of Russia have been hit by what weather forecasters have called anomalous cold, with temperatures in the Moscow region falling to minus 15-22 degrees Celsius during the day and minus 22-29 degrees at night.
Temperatures are expected to remain well below normal over the next 10 days, according to the Hydromet Center’s weather forecaster, with temperatures averaging minus 20 degrees in Moscow.
Gazprom’s ability to meet peak demand resulting from extreme cold is constrained by the pace at which it can pump gas from its underground storage, to supplement baseload production from its Siberian fields.
Gazprom produced 510 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas out of total Russian output of 671 bcm last year.
Reporting by Melissa Akin and Douglas Busvine, Editing by John Bowker