Gazprom profit rises despite falling gas sales

Image caption,
Gazprom's profit was helped by an asset swap deal with E.On

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has reported a 3% rise in net profit for 2009, despite the company seeing gas sales decline.

Net profit rose to 793.8bn Russian roubles ($27.1bn; £17.8bn), while sales fell 9% to 2.99 trillion roubles.

The global financial crisis led to a drop in demand and prices of gas and oil in 2009, hitting energy firms' profits.

But Gazprom was helped by a one-off asset swap deal with Germany's E.On.

Under the deal, E.On got a stake in a gas field in Western Siberia, while Gazprom acquired 49% of the Russian energy trading company E.On Gerosgas. Gazprom said the swap led to a one-off gain of 105.5bn roubles.

New pipelines

Gazprom also said its proven gas reserves increased by 2.2% to 18.6 trillion cubic meters.

The company has started building the new Nord Stream pipeline, which runs from Russia to EU countries under the Baltic Sea.

It is also working on another pipeline, the South Stream, to run under the Black Sea to southern Europe.

Several days ago Austria became the latest country to join the South Stream project.

The existing pipelines run from Russia to EU countries via Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.

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