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Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak on Monday has said that Russia could cut natural gas supplies to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
“In connection with unfounded accusations against Russia regarding the energy crisis in Europe and the imposition of a ban on Nord Stream 2, we have every right to take a matching decision and impose an embargo on gas pumping through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline,” Novak said in a state television broadcast on Monday, adding that “so far, we are not taking such a decision.”
Russia has long maintained that it was not using natural gas as a weapon, but that hasn’t stopped the United States and others from warning Europe that being beholden to Russia for a significant share of its natural gas supplies could allow Russia to weaponize the flow of that gas.
Today, those warnings seem well-founded, although Russia has yet to make good on its new threat.
U.S. lawmakers have long maintained that Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline—which is now complete but not flowing gas—would further put Europe in Russia’s grip with energy security. Germany, already reliant on Russia for much of its natural gas needs, ruled last October that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline posed no security-of-supply threat.
But Germany itself asked the economy ministry to withdraw a binding opinion stating that it posed no threat, so the country could shelve the pipeline after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Europe gets 40% of its natural gas supply from Russia.
If Russia does cut off the flow of Nord Stream 1, natural gas prices in Europe will climb even higher. Natural gas prices are already at a record high, up 42% from Friday’s close to $293 per MwH on Monday.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.