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MOSCOW: Russian gas consumption is running at a record high but Moscow is still ready to increase supplies to Europe should it receive such requests, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Saturday.

European spot gas prices have surged by 800 percent this year as demand has recovered after the coronavirus pandemic. Prices eased earlier this month after Russia, Europe's key gas supplier, said it could deliver more, but these supplies have yet to materialise.

"I want to underline that we in Russia have record high gas consumption figures this year, which is also due to active economic recovery," Novak said in an interview with the Rossiya 1 TV channel broadcast, according to Russian news agencies.

Russia can help Europe, not using gas as a weapon, says Putin

Russia, whose gas production and exports to EU are already near record highs, has said it needs to finish filling its own gas storage reserves before it increases supplies to Europe's spot market. It plans to complete this by end-October.

Novak did not say how large Russia's gas reserves were but estimated that European underground facilities were short of around 25 billion cubic metres of gas.

He insisted high domestic demand would not stop Russia offering more supplies to Europe if it received such requests.

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