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European Requests For Russian Gas Hit 5-Month High

Requests for Russian natural gas deliveries for the EU via Ukraine and Slovakia on Monday reached their highest level since November 2021, sending European benchmark gas prices lower in early trade, despite the ongoing dispute over rubles-for-gas payments and Russia cutting off deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria.  

Daily nominations for Russian supply through Ukraine and the Slovakian border point of Velke Kapusany hit the highest level since November 30, per data from Slovakia’s transport system operator Eustream cited by Reuters.

Russian gas flows via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany were also up on Monday compared to Friday, according to Reuters estimates. 

On the Yamal-Europe pipeline, gas flows continue in reverse mode from Germany eastwards to Poland, operator Gascade’s data seen by Reuters showed early on Monday. 

Poland continues to receive Russian gas – via reverse flows from Germany—after Gazprom cut off direct gas supply to Poland in the middle of last week, Russia’s gas giant said.

Last Wednesday, when Russia halted gas supply to Poland and Bulgaria, flows on the Yamal-Europe pipeline from Germany to Poland jumped, according to Gascade cited by Reuters.

Gazprom cut off supply to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday, saying deliveries were stopped “due to absence of payments in rubles”. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki described the halt of Russian supply as “a direct attack” on Poland and vowed that the country would not give in to “this blackmail”. 

Bulgarian Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov commented.

“It is clear that in the current war in Ukraine, Russia uses natural gas as a political and economic weapon.” 

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The EU is working to ensure alternative gas supply and pledged a coordinated response to what European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also described as “yet another attempt by Russia to use gas as an instrument of blackmail”.

Despite the EU-Russia standoff on gas and the clear and present threat that Russia could cut off deliveries to other EU member states, Europe’s benchmark gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub traded lower early on Monday, amid higher nominations for Russian gas deliveries via Ukraine.  

 By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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