VIENNA (Reuters) - Long-term gas demand in Europe means immediate investment decisions are needed to build new infrastructure, Alexander Medvedev, a deputy chief executive officer at Russian gas giant Gazprom, said on Tuesday.
Last year, Russia supplied Europe and Turkey with a record 179.3 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas as consumers capitalized on low gas prices, which follow the prices of oil with a lag of six to nine months. Its share of the EU gas market rose to an all-time high of 34 percent from 31 percent in 2015.
Russia plans to boost supplies further and remain the dominant player on the European gas market.
“In order to cater for the growth (in Europe’s gas demand) tomorrow, large-scale investment decisions are required already today. This is a stimulus for us to invest in new fields and gas pipelines,” Medvedev told a European Gas conference in Vienna.
“According to a consensus forecast of the world’s leading energy agencies, thanks to new spheres of growth, Europe will need some additional 90 bcm of gas by 2025 from the current level of supply and more than 120 bcm by 2035,” he said.
Gazprom has been pushing for the Nord Stream-2 underwater gas pipeline project, which would double the existing annual capacity of the current two pipelines from 55 bcm.
The project has faced resistance from some European countries, notably from Poland, which want to cut their reliance on energy supplies from Moscow amid political tensions.
“Gazprom is ready to create a powerful infrastructure for gas supplies, which will cost European taxpayers not a single euro cent,” Medvedev said.
He added Nord Stream-2 was on schedule as new pipelines were being commissioned in Russia to supply gas from Siberia.
“The Nord Stream-2 project is being implemented in full compliance with the schedule. The Bovanenkovo-Ukhta-2 gas pipeline has been launched recently, this is a part of our Nord Stream-2 schedule,” Medvedev said about a pipeline in Siberia.
Geoffroy Hureau, the general secretary of data provider CEDIGAZ, said Russia would be able to keep its market share in Europe thanks to lower production costs and have the upper hand in the battle with an expected influx of liquefied natural gas from the United States over the coming years.
“They have a lot of gas they can put on the market at relatively low cost because they have developed some fields in view of a growing European market,” he said on the sidelines of the conference.
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Mark Potter
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