Gas marketing in Europe
The main goals of Gazprom in the European market are retaining its leadership position, ensuring reliable gas supplies, and improving the efficiency of its marketing activities.
European countries have been among the key consumers of Russian gas for over 50 years.
Gazprom is the largest exporter of natural gas to the European market.
Russia has provided reliable natural gas supplies to Europe for over 50 years. Pictured: Berlin, Germany
Over the course of 2019, the Gazprom Group sold 232.4 billion cubic meters of gas to countries outside the former Soviet Union (including both exports from Russia and sales of gas purchased by the Group abroad). The net revenue from gas sales (net of excise tax and customs duties) totaled RUB 2,490.4 billion.
In 2019, Russian gas exports to Europe (under contracts of Gazprom Export) amounted to 199 billion cubic meters.
Gazprom's activities in the European gas market are underpinned by long-term contracts with take-or-pay clauses. The Company also uses new forms of trade based on short- and medium-term sales, swap operations, and spot contracts.
Unified export channel
The unified export channel is the backbone of Gazprom's export strategy. Pursuant to the Russian law on gas export, Gazprom has an exclusive right to export gas via gas pipelines. The law allows the Company to pursue a coordinated production and marketing policy and serves as an additional legal guarantee of reliable gas exports from Russia.
Long-term contract system
Gazprom exports gas to Central, Western and southeastern Europe mostly under long-term contracts.
Long-term contracts with take-or-pay clauses are fundamental to stable and sustainable gas supplies. No other contract can guarantee that producers and exporters will get returns on multibillion investments in major gas export projects and that importers will enjoy secure and uninterrupted gas supplies in the long term.
The main features of the long-term contracts are as follows:
- price formula taking into account the oil prices of the previous six to nine months;
- clauses forbidding the unilateral termination of contracts unless caused by prolonged force majeure events;
- take-or-pay clause for significant contracted volumes, stipulating that buyers should pay for all contracted gas, whether offtaken or not, but may later withdraw the unconsumed volumes at a surcharge upon receiving the minimum annual volumes contracted for the specified year.
In essence, the long-term contracts are service contracts that allow buyers to exercise flexibility with regard to both daily and annual volumes supplied, while the seller has an obligation to deliver the pre-paid take-or-pay volumes. Moreover, long-term contracts provide a guarantee of gas deliveries over a substantial period of time. Spot gas, meanwhile, is a fundamentally different product, which makes direct comparisons between contract and spot prices unjustified.
Contracts which are partially oil-indexed, however, continue to be relevant. Oil indexation is a long-term business planning tool that provides for investment continuity and stability in the gas sector.
Average gas selling price beyond FSU (net of VAT, including excise tax and customs duties)
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* The data were not derived from financial statements and were calculated based on exchange rates as of the end of the relevant period.
European gas market
The dynamics of Russian gas supplies to Europe depend on a number of factors, including rates of economic growth and indigenous gas production, prices for other energy sources – particularly in the power industry – and gas prices in other international markets.
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* Volumes of gas sales by the Gazprom Group include, inter alia, LNG sales and gas sold under hydrocarbon exploration and production projects implemented abroad with the participation of the Gazprom Group.
Enhancing reliability of gas supplies to Europe
Gazprom implements a set of measures to enhance the reliability of its gas supplies to European consumers, including systematic efforts for contracting gas transmission capacities, optimizing and redistributing the contracted capacities, executing swap deals, and mitigating flow interruptions and other emergencies.
Nord Stream, the first gas pipeline in history to establish a direct connection between the Russian and European gas transmission systems, reached its design capacity in 2012.
Nord Stream 2 is a new export gas pipeline to Europe across the Baltic Sea. The construction project is ongoing.
TurkStream is a new export gas pipeline stretching from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea. The first string of the gas pipeline is intended for Turkish consumers, while the second string will deliver gas to southern and southeastern Europe. Construction of TurkStream started in 2017. Gas supplies via the pipeline began in January 2020.
The use of underground gas storage (UGS) facilities in Europe also helps considerably increase the stability of export supplies.