Russia’s state gas company has reported record earnings for the third quarter of the year after profiting from a global gas crisis that has ignited historic energy market highs across Europe.
Gazprom, the world’s largest gas producer, said it expected even higher profits for the final months of the year as its customers in Europe brace for a winter energy crisis and record high costs.
Its better-than-expected financial results included a net income of 581.8bn rubles (£5.86bn) from July to September compared with a net loss a year ago after the average gas price it earned from buyers in Europe increased to $313.40 per 1,000 cubic metres from $117.2 in 2020.
Famil Sadygov, Gazprom’s deputy chairman of the management committee, said: “Given the current dynamics, we are expecting even more impressive results in the fourth quarter.”
The Kremlin-backed company has come under fierce criticism in recent months for failing to ramp up gas exports to Europe, despite record high market prices across the continent on the back of a global supply crunch.
Europe’s largest gas supplier has exported about one-fifth less gas than in previous years, leading critics to suggest that the company may be trying to manipulate the market by keeping prices high or gain political leverage in its plan to build Nord Stream 2, a controversial gas pipeline project to Germany.
The company has said that it has met all its contractural obligations to customers in Europe.
The record high gas prices have already forced the shutdown of some factories to avoid the financial toll, and households and businesses are expected to face record high bills and even blackouts if winter temperatures are colder than expected.
Meanwhile, rising oil prices have inflated pump prices for motorists and may contribute to further inflation across the economy.
Global Witness, a human rights campaign group, has claimed that the world’s biggest oil and gas companies have enjoyed a 24% profit increase compared with pre-pandemic levels, to a total of $65bn, as a result of the energy crisis, which could force thousands of citizens into poverty.
Jonathan Gant, a senior campaigner at Global Witness, said households have already found it hard to pay bills and are being “forced to make the stark choice between heating and eating”.
He said: “Meanwhile, the largest fossil fuel companies that are driving the climate crisis are lining their pockets. All too often, people have little say over what energy they use to warm their homes and cook their meals, compounding the unfairness in the rise in gas prices.”