Gazprom is confident the gas consumption growth trend will remain in Europe and is ready to satisfy it, Chief Executive Officer of the Russian gas holding Alexei Miller said on Thursday.

Gazprom increased gas supplies to Europe by 8% to 159.4 bln cubic meters last year, Miller said. “The European economy needs gas, internal production in the European Union declines and this trend will continue,” he said. Gazprom boosted supplies to Europe by 18% from the year beginning to May 15, he added.

Natural gas consumption is also growing in China, Miller said. Deliveries to China surged 22% in the first quarter of 2016, including pipeline gas import by China up 26% and LNG import up 16.9%, he added.

Export price 

The annual average export price of Gazprom for gas in 2016 could reach $167-171 per 1,000 cubic meters, Medvedev said.

“The annual average price could be in the range of $167-171,” he said, noting that this forecast is based on the current oil prices.

 Gazprom could increase export of gas to non-CIS countries by 3.5% to 165 mln cubic meters, Medvedev added.

“It will be about 165 bln cubic meters,” he said.

Last year Gazprom increased exports to Europe by 8% to 159.4 bln cubic meters.