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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Russia Almost Doubles Gas Exports to the U.K.

Russian media reports say the county’s gas giant Gazprom has dramatically increased its exports to the United Kingdom during the first five months of 2015, nearly doubling shipments.

The 91.5-percent increase in natural gas exports to the UK--which equates to 3.85 billion cubic meters--was reported by the company’s CEO Alexei Miller on Wednesday.

Other countries in the European Union—desperate to reduce dependence on Russian gas--have also begun importing more energy supplies from Russia.

Related: Why $50 Oil Makes Sense

Gazprom’s business with Poland jumped by 35.6 percent from January to May 2016, while Germany (10.4 percent), France (35 percent), Austria (21.3 percent), Greece (85.8 percent), the Netherlands (103.8 percent) and Denmark (139.3 percent) also upped their orders by significant amounts.

The European Council on Foreign Relations published a report calling Russia an “unreliable partner” and outlined possible alternatives to Russian energy resources.

It suggested increasing natural gas imports from the Middle East and North Africa region, “intensifying collaboration” with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan all of which host the Southern Gas Corridor, and getting a hold of liquefied natural gas from the United States, Australia and East Africa.

In order to implement the three-pronged strategy, the report suggested appointing a Special Envoy on International Energy Affairs to begin discussing energy trade deals.

“Although diversifying away from Russian gas is not unrealistic in the medium term, several technical and political obstacles must be overcome,” the authors said, pointing out that “most” of the European Union’s energy contracts with Russia will expire by the year 2025.

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The analysis leaned towards offering energy contracts to Iran, had its oil industry not been bombarded by international sanctions at the time. The nuclear deal’s success could mean the recovering country could receive new European contracts.

The document also suggested increasing its energy imports from Algeria – the North African country that already the continent’s second-largest non-EU gas supplier behind Russia.

Other OPEC members from Latin America and the Middle East were also listed as new potential energy partners.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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