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Russian gas saves Europe from the cold, but the EU is afraid to fall into the Russian trap
28 October 2021, 22:31
Russian gas saves Europe from the cold, but the EU is afraid to fall into the Russian trap
Photo: finobzor.ru
"Savior", "reliable partner", "hero" - what epithets have not been awarded in the last days of Vladimir Putin by the Western media after the Russian president promised to fill underground gas storage facilities in Europe.

However, there were also those who continue to accuse Moscow of blackmail for the sake of registering Nord Stream 2.

Sergey Kron

Bloomberg reports that the long-awaited additional volumes of Russian supplies are already on their way to Europe. And such a step, as Putin said at a meeting on the development of the resource potential of the Yamal Peninsula, "will create a more favorable environment in the European energy market." As soon as he uttered this phrase, the prices for blue fuel went down sharply - now a thousand cubic meters is worth less than a thousand dollars.

But panic prevailed at the auctions in Europe on the eve of Putin's announcement. Gas prices have approached an unprecedented two thousand dollars per thousand cubic meters. Speculators frankly “warmed their hands” on this. And European politicians unanimously called the situation "horror and shock".

Interestingly, almost simultaneously The Financial Times and the BBC noted: "Moscow intervened, and the panic finally subsided".

The Russian leader, Bloomberg writes, has ordered state-controlled Gazprom to focus on filling UGS facilities in Germany and Austria starting November 8, after storage facilities in Russia are filled.

According to the head of Gazprom Alexey Miller, now the volume of gas in the European storage facilities of the company is "very, very small, a little less than 190 million cubic meters." Indeed, according to the AGSI + data, Gazprom is at a minimum: in Austria - by 55%, in Germany - by 21%, and in the Netherlands - by 28%, with the European average of 77%.

Nevertheless, the Minister of Economy and Energy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Peter Altmeier, does not see any problems with blue fuel in the country. According to him, there will be no shortage of raw materials on the German market in winter, the underground storage facilities are filled up again. And this is not surprising, writes the newspaper Die Zeit, after all, the Germans are the main buyer of Gazprom's raw materials. Altmaier also noted that the EU gas problems are not related to Russia, the situation is caused by the price conjuncture.

At the same time, Kiev, which every now and then calls Russia an "aggressor" and refuses to buy "dirty Russian gas", is actually demanding that Moscow increase fuel transit through the Ukrainian GTS. Although this is simply not profitable for Russia and, as experts say, it can lead to a disruption in supplies due to the high deterioration of the gas transmission system.

The Financial Times quotes the words of the President of Russia about the increase in gas supplies to Europe by 10% with the commissioning of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. And if just a week ago the British called it “gross blackmail” of Russia, now their intonations have become softer. It seems that the Europeans have nevertheless heard Moscow's position and are now taking into account the possible increase in the volume of Russian gas supplies.

True, journalists immediately cite the words of the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, that the European Union runs the risk of becoming too vulnerable due to large supplies of fuel from Russia.

According to Deutsche Welle, at a meeting on Yamal, Putin actually confirmed that Moscow is using the current gas crisis to promote the Nord Stream 2 project. For example, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, when he was given the floor, bluntly stated that he saw several ways to “cool down” the situation on the gas market: “One of them is the earliest completion of certification and obtaining permission to pump gas through the completed gas pipeline. This would send a positive signal to the Europeans".

“The gas shortage that Europe faced on the eve of the heating season makes it forget about the provisions of the Third Energy Package of the European Union and the gas directive that does not allow loading Nord Stream 2 by more than 50% of its capacity”, - said German political analyst Alexander Rahr. - Europeans become sober when their comfort is directly threatened. Thus, at a critical moment for Europe, Nord Stream 2 can obtain a work permit without any restrictions.

Igor Yushkov, a leading analyst at the National Energy Security Fund, told Novye Izvestia that after the president's speech, first of all, one should expect a psychological effect designed to calm the European gas market. So far, Russia has succeeded - fuel prices have begun to decline. Perhaps this is a short-term effect.

"Now it is not very profitable to pump large volumes of gas, or they will have to be supplied through Ukraine, so Gazprom has filled Russian storage facilities for Europeans. And the European UGS facilities will be filled to calm down the Europeans themselves, because they are very nervous about the presence of gas there", - the expert noted.