Finance

Energy agency: gas crisis is Russia’s fault

Because gas prices in Europe have risen sharply and with it the energy costs for households and companies. In the Netherlands, the gas price has more than doubled.

Russia could increase gas supplies to the European continent by at least a third from current levels, says IEA director Fatih Birol.

But the country is limiting sales despite the high prices. “There are strong indications that the gas shortage in Europe is due to the behavior of Russia,” Birol said. “The deficit is Gazprom’s fault.”

Gazprom is the Russian energy company that exports gas to Europe and is controlled by the Russian government. According to Birol, this concerns 3 billion cubic meters per month that could easily flow extra to Europe.

Hundreds of euros

Europe is grappling with an energy crisis that has caused gas and electricity prices to break several records in recent months.

The continent’s gas supplies are already at their lowest in more than a decade and the traditionally two coldest months of the year have only just begun.

Households without a fixed energy contract have to pay hundreds of euros more per month and this also means higher prices for energy-guzzling companies such as greenhouse horticulture.

Behavior of the Russians

Other gas exporters such as Norway and Algeria have increased exports to Europe. But that has not brought peace.

Because of Ukraine

The agency thinks that the partial shutdown of the Russian gas tap does not coincide with the high tension in Ukraine. Russia has been building a military force along the border with Ukraine for months and there is a threat of Russia invading the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin strongly opposes Ukraine cooperating with Western military alliance NATO and also wants NATO to withdraw all troops from countries bordering his country. Including Dutch soldiers in Lithuania. This year it concerns 300 men.

Storage empty

In addition to the gas supply to Europe, Gazprom also controls eight European gas storage locations. These were intentionally not replenished last year in order to strengthen the crisis in Europe.

However, Putin ordered Gazprom last November to refill that European gas storage facility. According to Gazprom, that also happens but at the end of December those tanks were just over half full. Normally this is 70 percent. However, storage in Russia itself is at record levels, says Gazprom.

The Russian storage capacity in Europe accounts for 10 percent of the total storage capacity here. Gasunie, among others, also stores gas in the summer to pump it into the gas network in the winter.

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