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Russia’s gas giant Gazprom is in no hurry to supply additional volumes to alleviate Europe’s gas crisis, unless the European Union (EU) and Germany grant operational license to the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, sources close to the Kremlin and Gazprom told Bloomberg.
“We cannot ride to the rescue just to compensate for mistakes that we didn’t commit,” Konstantin Kosachyov, one of the key pro-Kremlin legislators in Russia’s Parliament, told Bloomberg in an interview published on Tuesday, without going into details about Russia’s thinking.
The top Russian officials, as well as Gazprom, have repeatedly said that the state-controlled Russian gas giant is fulfilling its contractual obligations for gas deliveries to Europe. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, and top Gazprom executives have said that Europe’s gas crisis is not the result of lower gas supply, but the result of very low inventories and “flawed” EU policies of the past decade.
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 EU into admitting that it needs Nord Stream 2 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.
The European Commission presented last week a toolbox for a coordinated approach to protect those most at risk in the immediate term, including by investigating “possible anti-competitive behaviour in the energy market.”
Gazprom, for its part, said on Monday that it “continues supplying gas at near-record levels” to Europe.
But at the same time, auction results showed on Monday that Gazprom booked the same gas transit capacity for November as it had for September, thus not raising the offered gas supply to Europe.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.