Europe ‘too dependent’ on Russian gas says von der Leyen
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The bloc still relies on Russia for 40 percent of its gas supplies. And despite Russia’s military siege of its neighbour, the EU is yet to slash its energy ties with Putin, still importing vast volumes while harsh sanctions batter other sections of the Russian economy. Russia has also seen its profits from these gas exports to the EU.
While Russia has sent prices skyrocketing by deliberately slashing the volumes of gas supplies travelling through its network, hefty amounts are still being exported to the bloc.
And last week, European natural gas prices skyrocketed again to a record high above €200 (£165) per megawatt-hour.
Kurt Deketelaere, Secretary-General for LERU, wrote on Twitter on Sunday: ”EU member states bought today 109.5 million cubic meters of gas from Russia, supplied to them by Gazprom through gas infrastructure in Ukraine.”
Former Secretary of State, Rory Stewart, who is now senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, said: “This is then the moment to stop all gas imports from Russia – this will have a far greater impact on Putin than anything we have so far done or considered.”
And the bloc is now scrambling for ways to slash this dependency on Russia.
According to a leaked document seen by EURACTIV, the European Commission is drafting a new energy strategy.
It comes as EU gas storage has reached “historically low levels”, with fears soaring over the “low debit in the gas pipelines from the East”.
The document reportedly reads: “We witness a growing gas crisis. The EU remains highly dependent on energy imports for power generation and heating.”
But currently, there is a reported shortage of gas reserves at storage facilities in Europe, leaving the bloc dependent on Russian imports.
And even though the crisis has broken out in Ukraine, Russian gas supplies through Ukraine jumped almost 38 percent on Thursday.
A third of Russian gas deliveries to Europe travel through Ukraine, a key transit country.
But Western energy giants have been pulling out of Russian projects due to its aggression, which may deal a blow to Russia’s energy empire.
Shell announced it would pull its 27.5 percent stake in a key LNG project, and its 50 percent stakes from two projects for oil fields in Siberia.
The energy giant also pulled out of Nord Stream 2, which it reportedly contributed around £750million towards.
Nord Stream 2 would have sent Russian gas to Germany at double the volumes currently seen exported.
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But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged not to certify the pipeline as a form of sanction Putin over his Ukraine invasion.
While a step towards shoving off reliance on Russia, the EU is still planning to shake off more of Putin’s control.
EU leaders are now set for an “informal” meeting in Versailles this Thursday to discuss how the bloc can permanently scupper ties with Russia.
Ahead of the meeting, a “draft declaration” between EU member states has been seen by Bloomberg.
It reportedly states that all 27 member states “agree to phase out all use of Russian gas and oil”.
Part of the plan may involve welcoming imports of (LNG), sent from the US and Qatar as alternatives to Russia’s gas.
A draft seen by EURACTIV reportedly says: “Reducing our dependence on a single fossil gas supplier requires diversification of gas supply and using the full potential of green and low-carbon energy sources.
“LNG, which can be transported by ship or road, has proven to be an important element in reducing our dependence on Russian gas and strengthening the security of supply.”
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