MOSCOW, May 27 (Reuters) - Russian gas giant Gazprom on Thursday increased its forecast for gas output for 2021 to 506.5 billion cubic metres (bcm), up from a previous forecast of 497 bcm and the largest since 2011, thanks to a recovery in demand.
Gazprom has seen higher demand in Europe, where it accounts for more than a third of the gas market share, following a cold winter and easing of COVID-19 lockdowns.
The forceast production would be the highest since 2011, when Gazprom produced 513.2 bcm. Last year the company produced 452.7 bcm of gas.
Vitaly Markelov, a deputy Gazprom head, told an online briefing that the company has already exceeded its first-quarter production forecast by around 6.6 bcm.
Another Gazprom official, Sergei Menshikov, said the production increase is provided by existing fields, while the company plans to bring on stream new deposits, such as Kharasavey, to support future production.
The company is shifting its focus to new fields located in the oil and gas-rich Yam peninsula in the Arctic. (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh, Oksana Kobzeva and Vadimir Soldatkin Writing by Alexander Marrow and Vladimir Soldatkin Editing by Jan Harvey and Frances Kerry)