Booming gas prices in Europe sent Gazprom's revenues soaring in the first quarter of the year as the Russian state-controlled monopoly posted a profit.

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Revenues hit 2.3 trillion roubles ($30.5 billion) in the three months to the end of March, up 31% from the comparable period a year earlier.

Net income surged to 447 billion roubles as compared with a loss of 116 billion roubles in the 2020 first quarter.

The company sold 64.5 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe in the reporting period, up almost 13 Bcm against the previous year, with the average price around 33% higher.

Net revenues from European gas sales amounted to 730 billion roubles as against income of 398 billion roubles from the delivery of 92 Bcm of gas to the domestic market and 113 billion roubles from the sale of 12 Bcm of gas to markets of the former Soviet Union area.

Despite generating a profit and more free cash, Gazprom’s net long-term debt declined by just 3% to more than 3.7 trillion roubles at the end of the first quarter.

Gazprom reiterated it remained a reliable gas supplier to Europe in the first quarter, during which LNG cargoes from the US and elsewhere were diverted from the region to Asia due to higher demand and prices.

The gas monopoly has repeatedly argued that European customers should expect further improvements in the availability of Russian pipeline gas once the controversial subsea gas pipeline project across the Baltic Sea, Nord Stream 2, is completed and starts its operations.

The company produced over 136 Bcm of gas during the first quarter as against 124 Bcm and 131 Bcm in the first and fourth quarters, respectively of 2020.

For this year, Gazprom expects its total gas output to grow by almost 12% to about 507 Bcm, with over 100 Bcm to come from tits flagship Bovanenkovo greenfield on the Yamal Peninsula.

The company expects European gas demand to remain strong in the second and third quarters as prolonged cold weather has led to higher than usual depletion of gas storage facilities that have to be filled with new gas during this summer and autumn.