The decrease in Russian natural gas sales to Europe this year is will cause problems for energy giant Gazprom, the country's largest company, an energy analyst said on Wednesday.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on Tuesday that his company's gas sales to the European Union could be 9 billion cubic meters less than planned this year.
Alexander Pasechnik, chief analyst at the National Energy Security Foundation, said the record decrease is due to trends in EU economies and competition.
"Gazprom lost a large share of the European market in the first quarter, when Europe bought Norwegian gas," Pasechnik said.
He said the decrease will reduce Gazprom's available funds and affect its investment programs.
However, the analyst said the effect will not be severely felt by average Russians.
"As far as ordinary Russians are concerned... it will, of course have an effect. But I do not think it will be very significant, as long as we have the reserve cushion."
He warned that said the Russian budget will suffer from a revenue shortfall in 2009, and predicted severe consequences for the entire national energy sector if the negative trends persist for several years.
"Large investment projects could be delayed, and then the Russian energy sector would see a systemic crisis," he said.
MOSCOW, November 18 (RIA Novosti)