The head of German utility heavyweight E.ON, Wulf Bernotat, has described the recent furor over Gazprom's apparent threat to divert supplies away from Europe as 'absolute nonsense' in an interview.

Mr Bernotat said in an interview with the Financial Times newspaper that the fears over Gazprom’s long term ambitions were overstated.

Russia has a pipeline system geared entirely toward the west, he told the paper. They make their money exclusively from exports – they don’t make any in Russia itself. So they need the exports to be profitable to be able to finance the investments needed to maintain such a high level of production.

E.ON is arguably in a strong position to gauge Gazprom’s intentions, given that the German firm is the largest foreign shareholder in the Russian giant, with a 6.4% stake. It also has long term gas supply contacts with the company.

They have got the stuff we want and need, Mr Bernotat said. I find the Gazprom supply debate completely exaggerated and overblown. It is, to be frank, absolute nonsense.