FRANKFURT, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Germany imported 3.0 percent less natural gas last year compared with 2015 and paid 27.3 percent less as oil-linked gas prices fell with cheaper crude, data from trade statistics office BAFA showed on Monday. The import bill in the twelve months came to 17.8 billion euros ($18.9 billion), the data showed. Many continental European long-term gas supply contracts still track crude oil prices with a time lag of about six months, though the importance of virtual gas trading points for spot supplies is increasing. Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark are Germany's leading suppliers. BAFA no longer provides a breakdown of supply from each country, but Russia remains Germany's top supplier. Russia's Gazprom, for its part, said last month its full-year gas exports to Germany hit a record high of 49.8 billion cubic metres (bcm). This number would be equivalent to 1,751,466 terajoules, in which BAFA expresses German imports. That volume would constitute 42.1 percent of the German total, up from a share of 34.7 percent in 2015, when this was reported by BAFA under its old regime. BAFA gave the following details: Dec 2016 Dec 2015 Pct change Gas border price **4,889.25 5,087.61 - 3.9 (in euros/TJ)* Gas imports (TJ) 409,833 397,552 + 3.1 Jan-Dec 2016 Jan-Dec 2015 Pct change Gas imports 4,156,376 4,283,360 - 3.0 volume (TJ) Avg gas border 4,278.62 5,718.16 - 25.2 price (in euros/TJ) Total value of 17.8 24.5 - 27.3 imports (bln euros) * 1 terajoule = 278,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh), 1 bcm = 35,170 TJ ** equivalent to 1.76 cents/kWh ($1 = 0.9414 euros) (Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Mark Potter)
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