According to preliminary data, Gazprom produced 155.9 billion cubic meters of gas from January 1 through April 15, 2022. This is a decrease of 1.3 per cent (or 2.1 billion cubic meters) versus the same period of last year.
The Company's domestic supplies from the gas transmission system dropped by 3.6 per cent (or by 3.9 billion cubic meters) over said period of 2022 due to, in particular, warm weather observed in February. Supplies in March and the first half of April were commensurate with those in the same period of last year.
Gas exports to the countries beyond the FSU amounted to 44.6 billion cubic meters, which is 26.4 per cent (or 16 billion cubic meters) lower than the figure for the same period of 2021. Gazprom continues to deliver gas as requested by consumers in full compliance with contractual obligations.
Gas exports to China via the Power of Siberia pipeline keep growing within the framework of the long-term bilateral contract between Gazprom and CNPC.
According to Gas Infrastructure Europe, the withdrawal season at Europe's underground gas storage facilities came to an end on March 19. By that date, their working gas inventories totaled merely 25.2 billion cubic meters. This is one of the lowest levels in the long history of observation and a decrease of 5.5 billion cubic meters against the same date of 2021.
Over the past winter season, 51 billion cubic meters of gas were withdrawn from Europe's UGS facilities, i.e. 107.8 per cent of the amount that companies managed to inject in the summer of 2021.
It should be noted that the amount withdrawn in the winter of 2020–2021 totaled 67.3 billion cubic meters of gas, with just 47.3 billion cubic meters replenished in the summer of 2021.
Therefore, it will be required to inject 71 billion cubic meters of gas into Europe's UGS facilities to bring their gas reserves to the level of the 2020–2021 winter season. Furthermore, it will take 72.4 billion cubic meters to get to the level of the 2019–2020 winter season.
Even getting the UGS facilities 90 per cent full, which is the target amount announced by the European Union, would require 63 billion cubic meters of gas to be injected. However, this target is also very ambitious. Over the recent years, no such volumes have been injected into the facilities in the span of a single season; besides, these volumes are insufficient to guarantee successful operation during consumption peaks in the case of an abnormally cold winter.
Replenishment of gas reserves in Europe's facilities is a major challenge in view of, inter alia, the daily limits placed on injection rates due to the technological capabilities of UGS facilities. Moreover, the overall amount of gas available in the European market is highly dependent on demand in the growing Asian market.