Russian gas titan Gazprom has reported that its net profit for the last financial year has increased by a half again as export prices to its European customers increased substantially.

Net profit, calculated to International Financial Reporting Standards, was $11.7 billion, a 49.2% increase on the previous year. Revenues from sales rose to $51 billion, a 42% increase on the $36 billion brought in the previous year.

Total volumes of gas sold increased from 524.6 billion cubic meters to 539.7 bcm. Net sakes to Europe increased by 38%, while sales to former Soviet states increased by 58%.

However the main driver of the dramatic increase in net profits was the significant growth of prices on the wholesale market.

With this trend likely to continue into next year and with Russia’s neighboring states set to pay much more for their gas, profits are set to improve even more heading into 2007.