LONDON – An ominous warning from Russian-backed energy giant Gazprom has raised fears of a new turbulent winter for European gas supplies.
As the pre-summer heatwave hit Western Europe this week, politicians in the region are trying to fill underground storage facilities with natural gas to provide households with enough fuel to keep lighting and homes warm before the cold returns.
Concerns about severe gas shortages in the winter are driven by the risk of a complete disruption to EU supplies. about 40% from its gas through Russian pipelines. The bloc is trying to quickly reduce its dependence on Russian hydrocarbons in response to almost four months of Kremlin action attack in Ukraine.
Many are worried about how reliable Russia’s gas flows to Europe are as the conflict continues and economic sanctions bite. In fact, Moscow has already cut off gas supplies to Finland, PolandBulgaria, Denmark OrstedDutch company GasTerra and an energy giant Shell for his German treatiesthe whole dispute over the payment of gas for rubles.
Miller from Gazprom says he does not see a solution to the current problem with the equipment of part of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
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Most recently, Russia chose Gazprom to further restrict supplies through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea and reduced flows to Italy.
On Wednesday, Gazprom cited a technical problem with supply disruptions, saying the problem stemmed from the delayed return of equipment serviced by Germany’s Siemens Energy to Canada. Austria and Slovakia also reported cuts in supplies from Russia.
Moreover, in fiery comments that may have sent alarm bells throughout the bloc, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on Thursday that Russia would play by its own rules after the company halved supplies to Germany.
“Our product, our rules. We don’t play by rules we didn’t create,” Miller said during a panel session in St. Louis. St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, according to The Moscow Times.
Miller reportedly said the return of equipment to the Portovaya compressor station – part of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline carrying Russian gas to Germany – has been hampered by an unprecedented flood of economic sanctions. He added that he did not see a solution to the problem.
Valves for flow regulator at a natural gas metering station in Moldova.
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German Economy Minister Robert Habeck has dismissed Western sanctions and blamed restrictions on Russia’s supplies as a “political solution” designed to upset the region and raise gas prices.
Dutch wholesale prices, Europe’s benchmark for natural gas trading, jumped as much as 9% during Friday morning deals before cutting profits.
The latest dispute seems to reaffirm the risk for European countries heavily dependent on Russian gas, especially amid growing fears that Moscow may implement wider squeezing of supplies in the coming months.
Stressing the seriousness of these concerns, IAEA Executive Director Fatih Birol warn last week that EU countries could be at risk of winter energy regulation if Member States do not take more steps to improve energy efficiency.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, said on Friday that it was aware of Gazprom’s statements that it would reduce flows through Nord Stream 1, as well as supplies to several EU companies.
A spokesman for the bloc described the move as “another example of Gazprom and Russia using their energy supplies as a tool for blackmail.”
“Based on our exchange with national authorities yesterday through the Gas Coordination Group, there is no indication of an imminent risk to security of supply, but we will continue to monitor the situation very closely and keep in touch with the national authorities of the countries concerned,” he added. .
It is not yet known when and whether Nord Stream 1 gas flows will return to normal.
Correction: Fatih Birol is the Executive Director of the IEA. In an earlier version, its name and title were incorrect.