The Russians have informed the Germans that they will receive 60 percent from today (June 16). less natural gas. The German chancellor speaks of political action. Gazprom has also halted gas supplies to Italy.
On Tuesday (June 14), Gazprom cut 40 percent. pressing gas to Germany via the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
The reason is said to be “untimely return of the repair of gas compressors by the German concern Siemens, the shortening of the life of the gas compressor and the identification of technical malfunctions of the motors (an order from Rostechnadzor on a temporary shutdown) of the Portovaya CS- pump station.
Instead of 167 million m3 per day, Germany began to receive 100 million m3 of Russian gas per day.
But on Wednesday, the Russians turned off another turbine and reduced the transmission to 67 million m3 per day.
Berlin’s response was swift. German government spokesman at a briefing in Berlin steffen Hebestreit said the Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz shares the opinion of the competent minister that the reasons for limiting the gas supply via Nord Stream are political.
It is a statement from the Vice-Chancellor and the Minister of Economy Robert habeka, who said he considered Russia’s decision to cut off gas flow through Nord Stream as political.
Italy has similar problems. Gazprom told Eni, an Italian energy company, on Wednesday it would cut gas supplies by about 15 percent. The Italian energy giant reported that the Russians gave no reason for this move.
Information from the Russians about the reduction of gas supplies to both countries appeared on the eve of the visit of the leaders of Germany, France and Italy to Kiev. This will be the three leaders’ first trip to Kiev since the invasion began. It therefore appears that the restrictions on Russia’s gas supply to Europe are not accidental and that Moscow is heating the atmosphere on purpose.
Habeck: Russia is destabilizing the gas market situation
After the announcement of the Russian restriction on the gas supply to both European countries, the price of gas on the markets has returned to above 100 euros per megawatt hour.
“The data clearly shows that the Russian justifications are just an excuse. It is clear that this is a strategy aimed at destabilizing and raising prices,” emphasized the German Vice-Chancellor, Economy Minister Robert Habeck†
The Baltic gas pipeline is currently the main source of Russian gas supplies to Germany, after Moscow closed the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline and reduced supplies through Ukraine. Berlin and Brussels have assured that there will be no shortages of gas supplies.
The European Commission notes that Nord Stream 1 is only 10 percent. gas imports to the EU. The certification of Nord Stream 2, the second gas pipeline expected to double the amount of gas flowing through the bottom of the Baltic Sea, was suspended by the government of Olaf Scholz just days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
So far, Germany does not foresee any interruptions in gas supply to individual customers. Currently, Germany Germany is filling its gas storage facilities for the fall and winter.
Both Berlin and Brussels suspect Gazprom of artificially keeping warehouse levels low last winter to fuel the gas crisis and raise prices. The largest warehouse in Germany and one of the largest in Western Europe, run by the German subsidiary of Gazprom, remained virtually empty.
Now authorities are using the summer and falling demand to fill warehouses, which are now 55 percent, according to Tuesday’s data from the German federal network agency.
The European Commission is looking for new suppliers
Meanwhile, the European Commission has stepped up the search for alternative suppliers of blue fuel to Europe.
President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen signed a memorandum with Israel and Egypt on Wednesday on increasing Israeli gas imports. The agreement stipulates that Israeli gas will be shipped to Egypt, where it will be liquefied before being exported back to the EU.
The agreement is valid from the date of signature for three years. After that, it is automatically extended for another two years. In accordance with the signed document, Israel, Egypt and the European Union recognize that natural gas will be used for energy purposes at least until 2030, after which consumption in the Union will gradually decline until 2050, when EU Member States commit to a transition towards a carbon-free economy.
Brussels estimates that it will soon be possible to import 5 billion cubic meters via this route, and that this number could double next year.
The committee stressed that Russian gas imports have already fallen 45 percent. total volume in April 2021 to 31 percent. in April this year. Brussels is confident that by the end of the year the EU will get rid of two-thirds of the 155 billion cubic meters it imported from Russia before the invasion of Ukraine.
Rubles for gas
In recent weeks, Gazprom has suspended gas supplies to several European countries that have refused to pay as requested by the Kremlin.
Moscow has been demanding payment in rubles for the gas it sells to ‘enemy countries’, including EU countries, since March. First, Russia has halted pipeline supplies to Poland and Bulgaria because those countries refused to change the terms of their contracts.
After that, the same was done with Finland and the Netherlands. German companies are using a system that can reconcile the Kremlin’s wishes with the need to avoid EU sanctions. The solution was to deposit money in euros into a specially created account at Gazprombank (a Russian state entity not subject to EU sanctions) and convert it into rubles by the bank itself. Italy has also opened an account as a precaution.
Europe is rapidly trying to cut itself off from Russian gas. After the adoption of the embargo on Russian coal in April and the decree two weeks ago of a partial ban on Russian oil imports, the question arises whether it will be possible to include an embargo on Russian gas in the next , seventh package of sanctions .
Several Member States, in particular the Baltic States and Poland, are already calling for inclusion in the next sanctions package. Germany, which managed to reduce its dependence on Russia’s gas supply by 55 percent. up to 35%, they say, they still can’t live without the hydrocarbon that powers their industry.
So far, the German government plans to build at least four gas terminals, including two floating ones, to become independent of natural gas imports from Russia by 2024. This will involve an additional EUR 3 billion, and legislative solutions will be prepared to simplify investments.