Russia has already limited the shipment of gas to 7 European countries and the complications begin

In the fourth month of war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin defies the European Union with gas cuts seen as a “blackmail”. Indeed, Moscow is pressing where it hurts the most and playing with the energy vulnerability of Europeans, who consume an average of 40% of the gas that comes from Russia. This percentage is even higher in other countries.: 55% in the case of Germany and 85% in the case of Bulgaria.

In most European countries the gas shortage is not yet felt, since in the height of summer it is not necessary to turn on the heating. But it is precisely in the summer period when countries usually replenish their reserves, with a goal of storing at least 80% by November in the European Union (EU).

Falling deliveries are driving up prices, which will be costly for industries, especially in Germany, whose factories, often directly connected to pipelines, need huge amounts of gas in the chemical, steel, cement and fertilizers.

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Courtesy: La Razón (Spain)

“The Russians have been using gas as a weapon for a long time”he told AFP Thierry Bros.professor at the Institute Sciences Po Paris. “The Kremlin uses the principle of uncertainty, one day something and the next day something else, to analyze our unit and pressure the market of raw materials and push prices up”he added.

This Friday, the operator of the French gas transport network GRTgaz announced that it has not received Russian gas by pipeline since June 15, with the “interruption of the physical flow between France and Germany.”

Russian gas represents 17% of that used in France, where it can be reached by pipeline or in liquid form on ships. Supplies fell 60% since the beginning of the year, according to GRTgaz. Since Wednesday, the supply has been reduced to zero. GRTgaz does not know the cause of this cut, but it comes when the Russian hydrocarbons company Gazprom considerably reduced gas deliveries to Germany, through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.

“We should not have any illusions, we are in a confrontation with Putin,” declared on Thursday Robert HabeckMinister of Economy and Climate of Germany, to state television. “It is a decision that he is making arbitrarily: this is how dictators and despots act”he added.

The consequences are also serious for Italy, which will receive this Friday only 50% of the gas ordered by its national company Eni.

Italy is highly dependent on Russian gas because it imports 95% of the gas it consumes. 40% of its gas purchases abroad came from Russia in 2021.

On Thursday, during a visit to kyiv, the head of the Italian government, mario draghidescribed as “lies” the explanations given by the Russian Gazprom to justify these reductions in supply, including maintenance operations. “Gazprom does not need any justification, it is a political decision of the Kremlin. It is cutting in a differentiated way to crack European unity”, said expert Thierry Bros.

Europe, which for the moment has only imposed an embargo on oil and not on Russian gas, is looking for other alternative sources to replace Russian gas, especially with liquefied natural gas (LNG).

France, for example, imports gas from other countries such as Spain, which has increased its supply. And it increased its purchases of LNG, which arrives by ship at the terminals.

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