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EU Lawmakers Want Gazprom Investigated For Alleged Gas Market Manipulation

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

“We call on the European Commission to urgently open an investigation into possible deliberate market manipulation by Gazprom and potential violation of EU competition rules,” 42 EU lawmakers wrote in a letter to the relevant European Commissioners seen by Bloomberg.

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 across the continent, and low wind power generation amid still weather.

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.  

Last week, 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 earlier this week that it would decide no later than January 8, 2022, whether it will certify Nord Stream 2 and issue an operating license for the pipeline.

The commissioning of Nord Stream 2 “as soon as possible will substantially balance natural gas price parameters in Europe, including on the spot market,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

On Friday, Alexey Miller, chairman of the board of Gazprom, said that low gas storage levels across Europe going into the winter season have the potential to push up Europe’s natural gas prices to new records in the coming weeks.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on September 18 2021 said:
    I bet you any money that the 42 EU lawmakers of the European Parliament must be representatives of Polish and Baltic States and being incited by the United States.

    Moreover, they have no leg to stand on in their accusation that Gazprom’s alleged manipulation of the EU gas market based on the following considerations.

    1- Gazprom has provided exactly the volumes of gas that the EU contracted. If the EU misjudged the gas market and didn’t order more Russian gas, it can’t blame Gazprom for their misjudgement.
    2- Gazprom has other gas supply commitments. It has contractual commitment to supply 38 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas to China annually in addition to Japan and India among many others.
    3- The soaring gas prices in the EU are due to declining domestic production, very low gas inventories across the continent, low wind power generation amid still weather and steeply rising demand and prices in the Asia-Pacific region impacting prices in the EU. They can’t blame Gazprom for that.
    4- Gazprom signed in December last year a 5-year contract with Ukraine under which it has a commitment to ship agreed volumes of gas to the EU via Ukraine. Gazprom isn’t obliged to increase the shipped volume if it doesn’t want to.
    5- Now that Nord Stream 2 is ready to bring 50 billion cubic metres of additional Russian natural gas supplies to the EU, the onus is on the EU Secretariat to prevail upon Germany’s regulator to issue an immediate temporary operational licence to Nord Stream 2 before the onset of Winter rather than wait until the 8th of January 2022 to decide to certify Nord Stream 2. This will have an immediate downward impact on prices.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • George Doolittle on September 17 2021 said:
    I'm sure France just *LOVES* the soaring price of uranium at the moment as well.

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