Russian gas giant Gazprom announced Wednesday a net profit of 940.8 billion rubles ($31.05 billion) over the first nine months of 2011, a year-on-year growth of 40.7 percent. Sales increased by 32 percent in the same January to September period, to a total of 3.3 trillion rubles. The group expanded sales especially in countries of the former Soviet Union, where it sold 62.5 billion cubic meters of gas, 33 percent more than in 2010, for a total of 458.6 billion rubles, a jump of 58 percent due to currency fluctuations. Gazprom sold a total of 371.8 billion cubic meters of gas over the nine months, 7.8 percent more than in the same period last year. The company\'s operational costs grew by 23 percent to 2.12 billion rubles, and its debt balance increased by 20 percent to 1.04 billion due to long-term loans and the ruble\'s weakening against the dollar and euro. Gazprom said Wednesday that it expects a 25 percent growth in profit for the year to \"nearly $40 billion\", an all-time record. The company produced a total of 513.2 billion cubic meters of gas in 2011, a slight annual growth from 508.6 billion cubic meters in 2010. It also increased deliveries of gas from its underground storage sites in late 2011 during the winter season, it said in a statement. \"An operational reserve of 65.2 billion cubic meters is being created,\" the company said amid a deadly cold snap in Europe. It is \"the maximum amount in the history of Russian gas industry.\"