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Russian gas exports to countries outside a group of former Soviet republics plunged by 45.5 percent in 2022, figures from gas giant Gazprom showed on Monday.
Gazprom said in a statement that exports outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) totalled 100.9 billion cubic metres compared to 185.1 billion in 2021.
Europe was previously Gazprom's main export market but supplies have been drastically reduced because of sanctions following Russia's offensive in Ukraine in 2022.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said the company had been steadily increasing supplies to China during the year but did not give details on the quantities.
"From January 1 we are on a fundamentally new level of gas supplies to China," Miller said in the statement.
Looking to China
President Vladimir Putin last month inaugurated the Kovykta natural gas field in eastern Siberia that will allow Russia to increase its exports to China.
Russia does not have pipelines to transport gas from its Western Siberian and Arctic gas fields - which have served Europe - to China.
But Russia began efforts around a decade ago to develop new fields and build the Power of Siberia pipeline to deliver to the rapidly expanding Chinese market.
The first Power of Siberia pipeline went into operation and began to ship gas from eastern Siberia to China at the end of 2019. Moscow plans to build a Power of Siberia 2 pipeline.
At a conference last week, Miller admitted Gazprom had had a "very, very difficult" year.
Miller noted a "total change in the energy markets" driven by sanctions in response to Putin's decision to send troops to Ukraine.
Gazprom accounts for 11 percent of the global natural gas production and has the largest gas reserves in the world.