Gazprom posts record $10.6 billion profit in Q1

Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer yesterday said that its profit for the first quarter tripled to a record $10.6 billion from a year earlier as winter boosted its sales volume.

Beating analyst estimates, Moscow-based Gazprom said net profit for the first quarter rose to 324.95 billion roubles ($10.57 billion) from 103.68 billion roubles a year earlier.

This increase was primarily due to higher volumes of gas sold in all geographical segments, which was compensated by the decrease of average realized prices in rouble terms for sales in Europe and other countries.

The results beat the average estimate of 316.4 billion roubles in a Bloomberg survey of six analysts.

For the three months ended 31 March 2010 net sales of gas to Europe and other countries decreased by 80,118 million roubles, or 22 per cent, to 286,218 million roubles compared to the same period in 2009.

This was mainly due to the decrease of average realized prices in rouble terms, which was compensated by the increase of the volume of gas sold.

Sales volumes jumped 21 per cent to 162.2 billion cubic metres in the first three months to March, said the Russian gas export monopoly company.

Operating profit rose to 339.3 billion roubles, up from 282.59 billion roubles a year earlier.

Russia supplies about a quarter of Europe's gas requirement, majority of which passes through Ukraine and a pricing dispute between Russia and Ukraine disrupted gas supply to Europe for almost a fortnight during peak winter in 2009.