Russian military takes out 'enemy' targets in training
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The US has sent 20 liquefied natural gas tankers on course to Europe, some of which were even redirected from Asia where the price of natural gas was much less lucrative. While this may be a commercial move for US gas companies, these shipments of liquefied natural gas will help offset reduced flows from Russia, the EU’s largest supplier.
The EU’s energy crisis has intensified in the past week after nuclear reactors were halted in France, with Germany recording low wind power output.
The resultant power shortage has prompted countries to burn more coal and even oil to keep the lights on and homes warm, flying in the face of the COP26 commitment to phase out fossil fuels.
Europe’s benchmark gas price climbed to a new record last week, up almost 800 percent since the start of the year.
News of the LNG cargoes heading to the continent to offer relief saw gas prices fall from record levels.
Among the ships in transit are the Minerva Chios, which left Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana in mid-November and was in the Indian Ocean before being rerouted towards Europe last week.
Mr Putin has been accused of engineering Europe’s gas crisis, saying that the Kremlin is using its monopoly for political means.
Analysts have also accused the Kremlin of wielding its state-run gas companies as a political weapon while tensions climb in Ukraine.
However, Mr Putin’s plan to use Russian gas to further his agenda may be foiled after the news of US tankers arriving halved gas prices in the EU.
Dutch prices hit a low of €103 per megawatt-hour on Tuesday, which is about 45 percent below a record high of €180.27 reached a week ago on December 21.
State firm Gazprom denied accusations of manipulating the prices, stating growing at-home demand was behind the move.
A Kremlin spokesperson added the pending decision around the Nord Stream 2 pipeline had no bearing on it either, adding it is a “purely commercial situation”.
The Nord Stream 2 is another Russian pipeline currently in the works and has Germany and the Kremlin locked in negotiations.
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If the country greenlit the €10-billion (£8.4 billion) pipeline, it would deliver double the amount of gas from Russia, up to 110 billion cubic metres (BCM).
Germany and Brussels still need to supply final certification before it can operate, and the recent controversy has made its future uncertain.
Nord Stream 2 is opposed by Washington and especially several east European states, which say the pipeline will make the EU even more reliant on Russian gas, which already supplies 35 percent of the bloc’s gas needs.
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