Romanian state-owned gas pipeline operator Transgaz, a partner in the Nobucco gas pipeline project, reported a net profit of $58m (170m lei) for the first half of 2009-10, an 18.5% increase on the first half of last year.

A weaker lei currency, which compensated for the lower demand for natural gas, contributed to the company’s profit, according to a Reuters report.

The company’s net turnover was 587m lei because of an increase in the regulated gas transit tariffs and international transit tariffs due to exchange rates, the company said.

Total expenses for the six months increased by 7.1% to RON423.1m, due to higher maintenance, upgrade costs and increased amortisation costs, the Mediafax news agency reported.