While the leaders of Germany, France and Italy toured the devastated areas of Ukraine on Thursday and expressed their support for Kyiv, the Kremlin’s political power arm Gazprom sent a new message to the European Union with its specific protest against Ukraine Sanctions paralyzing Russian industry. French gas company Engie denounced this Thursday that gas supplies it receives from the Slavic country have fallen, a day after Berlin and Rome suffered a similar reduction at the hands of Moscow.
These three countries are not the only ones affected. Slovakian gas company SPP announced this Thursday that Gazprom has cut around 30% of the gas it has contracted, while another country that has defended the imposition of milder sanctions and has opted for closer ties with Russia, Austria, avoided none of them has to be subjected to these stresses. Its gas company OMV has also received the dreaded letter from Gazprom.
Speaking at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller said his company was delighted with the supply cuts. “Yes, gas pumping into Europe has fallen by two percentage points, but prices have not just stayed the same, they have multiplied. If I say we’re not angry, I wouldn’t be lying,” stressed the oligarch, who has also hinted that Germany should consider opening the second gas pipeline built between the two countries, Nord Stream 2, because “they Druck has and can deliver gas from today”. Berlin suspended the gas pipeline’s certification last February and decided to freeze the project because of Russian aggression against Ukraine.
“Our product, our rules”
The supply of Russian gas outside the post-Soviet space fell by 28.9% in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year, while its price exceeded historical limits. Miller has predicted that it will be even more expensive in Europe. “Demand in the Asia-Pacific market will increase significantly, and in the second half of the year, European importers will compete with Chinese, Indian and other Asian buyers for the ‘golden’ LNG.”
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“Our product, our rules,” underlined the Gazprom president, who predicted that the primacy of the dollar and the Bretton Woods 2 agreements against protectionism would wane and it would be Russia’s turn. Miller has asserted that the company increased its shipments to China by 67% in the first five months of the year.
However, the Chinese market hardly makes up for the European loss. According to the newspaper I dressed, China paid Russia $2,360 million (around €2,257 million) for its gas between January and April, both through pipelines and liquefied natural gas. Four months in total, while the European Union pays the Kremlin the same amount every three days, according to Reuters data.
Reduction at Nord Stream 1
Gazprom announced last Tuesday that it would reduce pumping by the Portovaya compressor station from 167 to 100 million cubic meters of gas per day, although a day later it reduced its forecast to 67 million. However, the German authorities assured that the production registered by Nord Stream 1 barely reached 40% of its capacity.
The origin of this new chapter of the gas war He is in Canada, where one of the turbines of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which connects Russian pumping stations to Germany directly across the Baltic Sea, was sent for repairs. The piece hasn’t returned to Europe yet because Canada is holding it due to sanctions against Gazprom, according to Siemens Energy. The energy company, which left the Russian market in mid-April, explained to this newspaper that the enormous quantities of cut gas were not only due to such “technical reasons”.
Moscow blames Europe for reducing supply. “All we know is that the problem is that the turbines aren’t returning, that they were blocked somewhere. These are again the consequences of the sanctions, this is not intentional at all,” said Vladimir Putin’s spokesman.
Germany assures that the Russian justifications are “nothing but a pretext” to destabilize the European Union. A similar accusation to that which Ukraine had already leveled against Russia more than a month ago when it requested that the gas flow flowing through the Sojranivka station be diverted to a larger one, Sudya, after denouncing that the separatist areas backed by Moscow they kept part of the pumping going to reach the community bloc.
Gas is the Russian government’s main source of funding, including the war machine it has used in its offensive against Ukraine. Among other things, the European Union has advocated reducing its imports by two-thirds this year and phasing them out entirely in 2027. Several countries such as Poland, Bulgaria and Finland have stopped deliveries because they refused to comply with the payment mechanism in rubles promoted by Putin.