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Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy

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Gazprom: We're Not Withholding Gas To Europe

Russian gas giant Gazprom dismisses speculation and accusations that it is not supplying enough natural gas via pipeline to Europe, a senior official at Gazprom Export says.

So far in 2021, Gazprom’s gas deliveries to Europe have reached historic highs, Sergey Komlev, Head of the Contract Structuring and Pricing Directorate at Gazprom Export, wrote in an article for Gazprom’s corporate magazine, as carried by Russian news agency TASS.

Germany, Turkey, and Italy—some of Gazprom’s largest customers—all boosted imports of Russian gas in the first half of 2021, the manager said.

Gazprom’s exports to European countries rose by 23.2 percent between January and July, Komlev added.

“These figures prove the absurdity of accusing Gazprom of supply shortage,” the executive noted.

Europe is grappling with soaring natural gas and electricity prices ahead of the winter heating season due to tight gas supplies, very low gas inventories, and low wind power generation amid still weather.

More than 40 members of the European Parliament from all political groups have reportedly urged the European Commission to launch an investigation into Gazprom over alleged market manipulation that could have contributed to the record-high natural gas prices in Europe. 

During the summer, even with the strong rebound in European natural gas demand and surging prices, Gazprom did not book additional entry capacity to Europe via Ukraine.

Analysts say that this could have been an opportunistic move from the Russian giant to drive up Europe’s gas prices further and take advantage of the very high prices. Other analysts think that Gazprom’s effective reduction in supplies would force Europe to recognize that gas customers on the continent need the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany bypassing Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Gazprom said it had completed the construction of Nord Stream 2, although gas flows on the Russia-led pipeline cannot begin until Germany grants an operating license to the project.

Germany’s federal networks regulator BNA said last week it would decide no later than January 8, 2022, whether it will certify Nord Stream 2 and issue an operating license for the pipeline.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on September 24 2021 said:
    Gazprom has provided exactly the volumes of gas that the European Union (EU) contracted. In fact the Russian gas giant company’s exports to the EU rose by 23.2% between January and July this year. These figures prove the absurdity of accusing Gazprom of supply shortage. If the EU misjudged the gas market and didn’t order more Russian gas, it can’t blame Gazprom for their misjudgement.

    The EU could have extra Russian natural gas supplies ahead of the winter season but it can’t dictate to Russia to send the extra supplies via Ukraine.

    Russia has already agreed to ship a volume of gas supplies to the EU via Ukraine under a 5-year agreement signed in December 2020 but it won’t increase the volume.

    The extra gas has to be shipped via Nord Stream 2 which is ready to bring 50 billion cubic metres (bcm) of additional Russian gas supplies to the EU. But to do this, the European Secretariat has to instruct the German regulator to issue an operational licence for Nord Stream 2.

    Instead of playing politics with Nord Stream 2, the EU should facilitate the issuing of at least a temporary operational licence to Nord Stream 2 if it wants to satisfy the EU’s demand and prevent the Europeans from shivering in the coming winter. If the European Secretariat wants to give precedence to Ukraine over its own people, that is its affair but it shouldn’t blame Russia for that.

    The EU needs Russia far more than Russia needs it. It can’t replace Russian gas shipments while Russia has all the choices it needs. It can easily shift its earmarked supplies to the EU to China instead.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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