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Putin Lays Cards Down: Approve Nord Stream 2 To Get More Gas

Russia could immediately increase natural gas deliveries to Europe as soon as German authorities approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the Financial Times reports, citing President Vladimir Putin as saying gas can be delivered “the day after tomorrow” if approval is granted “tomorrow”.

Putin said Russia could deliver an additional 17.5 billion cu m of gas if the new pipeline gets the green light. This amount, according to the FT, is equal to a tenth of Russian gas deliveries to Europe and Turkey last year and would come not a moment too soon as Europe continues to struggle to fill up its reserves ahead of winter.

However, the Russian president’s statement is also likely to spark anger in Europe since it confirms suspicions that Russia wants to withhold additional supplies for Europe until Nord Stream 2 is approved. Moscow officials have said that Gazprom was prioritizing domestic energy security, and the company itself has repeatedly stated that it had fulfilled its delivery obligations under long-term contracts with European buyers.

Earlier this week, sources from Moscow also hinted that there would be more gas for Europe if Nord Stream 2 is approved, Bloomberg reported. But, separately, speaking to Bloomberg, a Russian MP said, “We cannot ride to the rescue just to compensate for mistakes that we didn’t commit.”

Meanwhile, top Russian officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and former Energy Minister Alexander Novak, have argued that Europe’s gas crisis was not the result of insufficient supply but a consequence of lower than usual inventories and bad decisions on the part of politicians.

At the same time, some in Brussels are accusing Gazprom of market manipulation to make prices rise. 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. 

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Hugh Williams on October 25 2021 said:
    While others listened to the anti-Russian PR about natural gas, BASF has had a 30 year partnership with Gazprom and has been pleased with it.
  • Acco Hengst on October 22 2021 said:
    The Russkies have been vilified for a number of things, Russiagate, meddling in US elections, absorbing the Russian speaking population of their former republic in Ukraine, what have you.

    Two US Presidents have interfered with the construction of Norstream2 significantly delaying its completion. The US still prefers to sell the Europeans more expensive LNG. Perhaps interferences have consequences, even for whining Europeans, especially the greens.

    Sending gas through Ukraine costs them $1 Billion annually in transit fees, perhaps worth saving after so many shenanigans.

    Putin said a few weeks ago, please, call, and negotiate delivery through the Ukraine pipeline, connecting with three Russian pipelines. No takers. Smart, very smart. You have to start building inventory in storage because the pipelines cannot keep up with peak demand in the winter.

    The Europeans are still planning more investment in renewables right now, because those fossil fuels are not green, shame on them. After Germany approves Nordstream2, the non-elected beurocrats in Brussels have to approve it next. They do not like the fact that the producer of the gas, Gazprom, also owns the pipeline. Nougies, very tough.

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