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Russia: Gazprom Uses Inventories To Stabilize Europe's Gas Market

Russia's gas giant Gazprom has started withdrawing gas from its storage facilities to stabilize the gas market, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told a BBC program on Tuesday, adding that "It's not in our interest to rock the boat further."

Some analysts and Members of the European Parliament have suggested that Russia has been deliberately withholding gas supply to the European market in recent weeks, exacerbating the gas crisis and pushing prices higher, possibly with the ultimate goal of pushing the European Union into admitting that it needs the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to avoid a more severe crisis when the winter comes.

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. 

Ryabkov dismissed any such suggestions in an interview with the BBC program Hard Talk on Tuesday.

"We favour energy security of Europe; we want to work collaboratively ... Gazprom has in fact started pumping out from its reserves into the pipelines to stabilise the market," the Russian diplomat said, as carried by Reuters.

"We work deliberately, quietly, soberly towards stabilisation. It's not in our interest to rock the boat further," he added.

Haidach, a storage facility in Austria used by Gazprom, switched from injecting gas to withdrawing gas for one day after gas prices in Europe hit a record last week, Russian news agency Interfax reported on Monday, citing data from Gas Infrastructure Europe.

After reaching another record high last Wednesday, natural gas prices in Europe and the UK reversed some of the gains later in the day after Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that Gazprom could send more gas to its European customers.

On Thursday, the International Energy Agency's executive director Fatih Birol told the Financial Times that the IEA's assessment points to the fact that Russia could boost its European exports by 15 percent of peak winter supply.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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