Gas prices: Putin ‘going to keep squeezing’ says expert
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied claims that he is responsible for Europe’s energy crisis as prices of gas soar and slammed the European Commission for creating the issue through what he sees as bad energy policy. Mr Putin claims that discouraging long-term gas supply contracts in favour of a buy-when-you-want spot market has exacerbated the crisis after many EU members claimed the crisis is Mr Putin’s fault.
And while Washington does agree that the situation is getting close to Mr Putin “weaponising” the supplies, it does not blame him for starting the crisis.
US Senior Global Energy Security Adviser Amos Hochstein, who is tasked with hammering out conditions under which the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline can be completed without sanctions, said: “It’s not been a spike that came back down to Earth, but rather stayed at these elevated prices.
“It reflects the fact that the markets are looking at these [gas storage] inventories in Europe as significantly below where they should be.”
It comes after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc was “vulnerable” due to its reliance on gas.
She said: “Europe is too dependent on gas and therefore our dependence on gas imports is excessive.
“This makes us vulnerable. Our response has to be based on the diversification of our suppliers.”
But, immediately afterwards, she defended the maintenance of natural gas as a transition fuel and, above all, she said, to “accelerate the transition to clean energy”.
She added: “The European Green Pact is, in the medium and long term, a pillar of European energy sovereignty in the 21st century,”
The pact, which wants to make Europe the first climate-neutral zone in the world, coexists with natural gas for the next few years.
The EU’s route to net zero carbon emissions has meant that member states have been forced to abandon long-term procurement contracts and move to short-term pricing.
Ordo News reports that experts now believe the key factor to the crisis is the EU’s “arrogance” with pushing these green policies through without sufficient contingency plans.
Samer Moses, global LNG analyst at S&P Global Platts, added: “Europe found itself between a rock and a hard place.
“The global liquefied natural gas market has been in short supply for almost a year, and Russia has its own problems in the field of production and infrastructure.
“Thus, Europe has lost two key sources of flexible gas supplies.
“As the vaults in the region have been emptied, any hint of pessimistic news, be it weather disasters or supply disruptions, could force markets to push prices up even further.”
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Russia is said to be withholding gas supplies as it awaits EU approval for the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin struck a deal to see the new pipeline transit gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, bypassing Poland and Ukraine.
It has caused outrage among some of the bloc’s 27 members.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, has called for Brussels to cancel or delay parts of its “Fit for 55” plan to tackle climate change.
He told Gazeta Polska weekly: “After the Russian action concerning gas, the creators and advocates of this ‘Fit for 55’ have, to put it delicately, made themselves look ridiculous.
“Energy prices have hit many EU countries with such force that their citizens will simply not agree to further increases in the name of some unproven theory.”
“Fit for 55” refers to the EU policy package to cut emissions by 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030.
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