Updated 3:32 p.m. Moscow Time
SOCHI, September 19 (RIA Novosti) – Despite a landmark gas sales agreement signed with China earlier this year, Russian energy giant Gazprom still views Europe as its “number one” market, CEO Alexei Miller said Friday.
“The European market is number one for us, and we are Europe’s number one gas supplier,” Miller said.
He said that Russian gas would account for 64 percent of all European gas imports this year, up 17 percent in the past four years. According to Gazprom estimates, in 2013, the company supplied European countries with 161.5 billion cubic meters of gas.
For more than 40 years, Europe has been the key consumer of Russian gas. However, following the recent agreement between Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) European experts raised concerns that Russia may now look toward the eastern market.
The deal signed in May is a 30-year contract to deliver China about 38 billion cubic meters of gas annually. Russia has repeatedly stressed that new agreement with its Asian partners would not hamper mutual cooperation with the European Union. Earlier, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Russia's cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries was not "revenge on Europe," but a response to current global economy trends.