MOSCOW (Reuters) - Natural gas pipeline exports by Russian energy giant Gazprom plummeted by almost one-fifth in the first quarter against the backdrop of weak demand, a source familiar with the data told Reuters on Thursday.
According to the source, exports from Gazprom to Europe, including Turkey, reached almost 40 billion cubic metres in the first three months of the year, down 19% year-on-year.
Gazprom, which accounts for around 35% of the European gas market, declined to comment on its first-quarter exports.
The company has said it expects its natural gas exports to decline by around 16% this year as the coronavirus crisis hit global demand.
Gazprom also almost halved its gas transit via Ukraine, a key exporting route, in January - April, to 15.5 billion cubic metres, according to Ukraine’s gas pipeline operator.
The state-controlled gas company sees its exports, mainly to Europe, falling to 166.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2020 from around 199.2 bcm last year.
It said it was caught up in a “perfect storm” of warm winter season and the global outbreak of the coronavirus.
The reduction shifts Gazprom further away from its long-term target of 200 bcm in gas exports to Europe, a key source of revenue for the company.
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise