Germany and Europe with it entered on Monday a period of great uncertainty about the continuation of Russian gas imports, which had already greatly reduced in recent weeks and which could soon dry up completely.
The Russian company Gazprom this morning started a maintenance operation on the two Nord Stream 1 gas pipelines, which carry a large amount of its gas, which is still delivered to Germany and several other Western European countries. This operation will largely deprive these countries of its services.
This ten-day shutdown of the two pipelines, announced long ago, was supposed to be just a technical formality. But in the context of the war in Ukraine and the showdown between Moscow and the West over energy, no one can bet on the future.
Gazprom cuts gas supplies to Austria and Italy
As a warning, Gazprom also cut its gas deliveries to Italy and Austria by one-third and 70 percent, respectively, on Monday, indicated Italian energy supplier Eni and its Austrian equivalent, OMV.
Most of the Russian gas delivered to Italy passes through Ukraine, through the TAG gas pipeline that reaches Tarvisio, in the north of the country, on the border with Austria.
France must prepare “for the total cut of Russian gas”, Germany is trying to adapt
“Let’s get ready for a total cut of Russian gas, this is the most likely option today. It assumes we accelerate our energy independence.”during the Aix-en-Provence Economic Meetings, the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire argued about LCI, who wants to take advantage of the summer to “put yourself in order of battle” before winter.
For its part, Germany has been committed since the beginning of the war to reduce its energy dependence. Berlin in particular has closed another Russian gas pipeline that was due to come into operation, Nord Stream 2, and its gas imports have fallen from 55% before the war to 35% today.
However, the dependence on Russian gas is still significant and over 50% of German homes are still gas-heated.
Europe depends on Russian gas
Exports of Russian gas to the European Union have been steadily declining since the beginning of the sanctions against Russia. Gazprom has stopped delivering gas to several European customers who have refused to pay in rubles. This was the case in Poland and Bulgaria on 27 April. Finland followed on May 21, days after applying to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Then it was the turn of the Netherlands and Denmark, on May 30, the day on which the Europeans decided the embargo on Russian oil.
Otherwise, most of Gazprom’s largest customers – in Germany, Italy and France in particular – complied with the Kremlin’s demands, hoping to escape the fate of their neighbors.
A prolonged disruption of deliveries would therefore aggravate the energy crisis that the European Union is already grappling with, with rising prices and fears of shortages this winter.
“We must now prepare for further disruptions in the gas supply, or even for a complete disruption of the Russian gas supply.said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, during a speech before the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, on 6 July. It’s obvious: Putin continues to use energy as a weapon “.
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