Image Source: New Europe
Russian gas supply to Europe may halt this winter according to the chairman of the International Energy Agency
According to Fatih Birol, he does not think a total shutdown is likely, but yet, Europe needs to develop backup plans in case it does.
Several European nations have recently claimed that the amount of Russian gas they received was much less than they had anticipated. Russian officials blame technical problems and deny that it was done on purpose.
Approximately 40% of Europe’s natural gas imports came from Russia before the invasion of Ukraine; this percentage is now closer to 20%.
Strategic Reduction in Russian Gas Supply
Russian gas supply decreases in recent months, according to Mr. Birol, are “strategic.” Because of the falls, it will be more difficult for European nations to fill their gas storage this winter, giving Russia more clout.
One of the main pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Europe, Nord Stream 1, only operated at 40% of capacity last week. However, the Russian justification that this was brought on by “technical difficulties” has drawn criticism from several specialists.
Shortages in gas supply are still being reported throughout Europe. The Russian state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom told the Italian energy company Eni on Friday that it had only delivered half of the gas it had ordered, and Slovakia and Austria have also reported declines.
France claims that since June 15, Germany has not delivered any Russian gas to it, while the supply of Russian gas to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands has been halted because those countries refused to pay in Russian roubles.
European nations decided last month to try and fortify their storage facilities with fuel to shield themselves from the erratic gas price. But, according to the most recent data, they are now at roughly 55 percent of capacity, which is below their agreed goal of at least 80 percent capacity by November.
According to Mr. Birol, the continued gas problem currently justifies immediate, short-term steps to cut demand, like boosting the usage of coal-fired power plants and, if possible, extending the lifespan of nuclear power plants. However, he claims that extreme measures might be required if the of Russian gas supply stops completely.