May 08, 2024

A Dismal Year for Gazprom


A Dismal Year for Gazprom
Gazprom and White House. James Offer, Flickr.

Gazprom, the Russian majority state-owned multinational energy corporation, concluded 2023 with its worst financial performance in history. The company's losses amounted to R629 billion (nearly $6.9 billion), with revenue plummeting by 27%.

The last time Gazprom faced a loss was during the rocky years of 1998–1999. During that period, global oil prices were at historic lows, and a significant portion of Gazprom’s contracts were linked to oil prices. Concurrently, domestic market non-payments were rampant. Even during the pandemic-induced challenges of 2020, Gazprom did not suffer losses as severe as those witnessed in 2023.

The primary catalyst for the losses stems from dwindling export revenues from gas sales to Europe, a repercussion of Russia's relentless War on Ukraine. Independent energy expert Kirill Rodionov reported a staggering 56% decline in gas supplies to the European Union, plummeting from 66.6 billion cubic meters in 2022 to 29.3 billion cubic meters in 2023. This decline failed to be offset by the increase in Russian gas exports to China, from 16 billion cubic meters to 22.5 billion.

Another contributing factor for Gazprom's financial woes is the heightened financial burden imposed by an additional increase in the mineral extraction tax.

Remarkably, the record losses in 2023 materialized despite optimistic assurances from both government officials and management. In October 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed confidence amidst the turmoil surrounding Gazprom: “Now Gazprom delivers less and has less income, but it feels confident.”

In December, Famil Sadigov, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Gazprom, projected a bright outlook for 2023, citing anticipated robust financial results driven by “other activities” and escalating gas supplies to China.

At the same time, Russia and China have yet to reach an agreement on the construction of the expansive gas pipeline Sila Sibiri 2 ("Power of Siberia"), which could position Russia as China's principal gas supplier. However, even if consensus is reached regarding the pipeline's construction, it is likely not sufficient to mitigate Gazprom's loss in the European market.

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