Gazprom gets extra revenues

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Russian natural gas monopoly Gazpom has announced that it saw its revenues rise significantly over the last 12 months - thanks to rising European natural gas export prices.

The natural gas monopoly said that it earned about $8.8 billion in 2006 thanks to the price growth.

"The increase in net revenue from natural gas sales to Europe by 226.8 billion rubles (about $8.8 billion), or by 37 per cent, is attributable to growth in average gas prices and export volumes," Andrei Kruglov, the head of Gazprom's department for finance and economics, commented.

The Russian company saw sales to former Soviet republic increase by 93 per cent - or roughly $4 billion - in 2006. At the end of last year, the company said that it expected to charge market prices in all ex-Soviet states by 2008.

According to Mr Kruglov, Gazprom cut 6.3 per cent off its net debt in 2006 so that it stood at around $23.8 billion by the end of the year.

Gazprom, which has close ties with Vladimir Putin's Kremlin, has recently shown interest in consolidating a major position in the UK market.

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