Gas giant Gazprom alone accounted for 80 % of the rise in gas production, with its output nearing 513 bcm.
This was the highest level since 2008, although below the company’s official production capacity of 550 bcm, the IEA said.
In 2022, estimates from the agency point to Russian natural gas production reaching another record of 763 bcm.
Despite the record-high production of natural gas, Russia has not been sending much above its contractual obligations to Europe this winter season.
This, combined with low storage levels at European sites, has resulted in a natural gas crunch in Europe and record-high prices that pushed up power prices and burdened many energy-intensive businesses in Europe.
In the 4th quarter of 2021, Russia’s pipeline exports declined by close to 25 % annually due to lower transit flows via Belarus and Ukraine and reduced deliveries to Turkey, the IEA said in its quarterly report.
The agency was among the many voices in the industry to blame Russia for the energy crisis in Europe.
Low natural gas deliveries from Russia appear to have artificially tightened the European gas market, the IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol said earlier this month, adding that energy systems «face significant risks» by relying too much on one supplier for a key energy source.
Birol wrote in a LinkedIn post in January:
- We see strong elements of artificial tightness in European gas markets, which appears to be due to the behaviour of Russia’s state-controlled gas supplier
A military action could disrupt Russian supply to Europe, while the U.S. could ax the still-waiting-to-become-operational Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine.