Europe is to import a record amount of Russian natural gas by 2020, according to Russia's pipeline gas export monopoly.
Gazprom said it expects Europe to be importing 25 per cent more of the commodity from Russia within the next two years, based on requests from both new and existing buyers having gone up.
This should lead to Gazprom exporting record volumes this year and next and comes despite EU leaders' criticism over the bloc's dependence on Russian gas, as well as calls to look for alternative sources.
Head of Gazprom Alexey Miller recently said that gas exports to Europe could reach a record 200 billion cubic metres, citing growth of economic activity in Europe and long term trends reducing European production as the main factors behind the growth in demand.
The company is the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe and Turkey, with exports having reached a record 194.4 billion cubic metres in 2017.
Currently, it is building two new gas pipelines to Europe in a bid to reroute gas supplies away from Ukrainian transit, since a contract with the Ukraine expires at the end of this year.
Another pipeline called the Power of Siberia is also under construction to pump natural gas from Eastern Siberia to markets as far afield as China.
The so-called 'western route' envisions the delivery of 30 billion cubic metres of gas through the Altai Region to northwest China within 30 years and is seen as of paramount importance going forward.