Gas Production Drops by Over 10%

Russian gas production fell by more than one-tenth in January because of problems with exports to Europe caused by a pricing dispute with Ukraine.

Energy Ministry data showed that gas output at Gazprom stood at 1.44 billion cubic meters per day, down 6.1 percent from December and 13.7 percent versus January 2008.

Gazprom, which provides one-fifth of global gas output and supplies Europe with a quarter of its needs, had to slash exports to Europe by some 200 million cubic meters per day in January as gas transit to Europe via Ukraine was stopped for about two weeks.

Analysts had warned that January would be a bad month for independent gas producers. The data showed mixed results for independent gas producers with Novatek posting a healthy 10.3 percent year-on-year growth while LUKoil showed a 21.2 percent decline. Gazprom has a 19.9 percent stake in Novatek.