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Russia's gas output expected to reach 620-644 bln cu m in 2009


MOSCOW, March 19 (RIA Novosti) - Natural gas production in Russia is expected to reach around 620-644 billion cubic meters while gas exports could hit 190-196 billion cu m in 2009, the economics ministry said on Thursday.

Russia's Economic Development Ministry published its updated forecast on Thursday for the country's economic development in 2009.

"Amid a slump in gas demand on the domestic and external markets in January-March, gas production in 2009 could amount to 620-644 billion cubic meters and exports are estimated at 190-196 billion cubic meters," the forecast said.

According to Russia's State Statistics Service, natural gas output in Russia grew 1.6%, year-on-year, in 2008 to 663 billion cubic meters.

Russia's Federal Customs Service earlier reported that the country's gas exports to countries other than former Soviet republics had increased 2.6%, year-on-year, in 2008 to 158.4 billion cubic meters while exports to CIS countries (a loose association of former Soviet republics) had dropped 5.7% to 15.9 billion cubic meters.

Overall, Russia exported 174.3 billion cubic meters of gas worth $66.4 billion in 2008, the Federal Customs Service reported.

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