Tuesday, August 9

International Energy Agency accuses Russia of “strangling” gas supply to Europe


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In a key week for the future of relations between the West and Russia regarding Ukraine, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) has put on the table the deliberate cut in the supply of gas to Europe, for political reasons, by Moscow.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the aforementioned body created by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), has indicated that Russia has the capacity to substantially increase the flow of gas towards Europe, but keeps it artificially reduced coinciding with geopolitical tensions with respect to Ukraine.

The strong revaluation of natural gas is one of the main causes of the increase in the price of electricity in the wholesale market, which in Spain has been breaking records in recent months.

“We believe that there are strong elements of shortages in the European gas market due to the behavior of Russia,” said Birol, in statements collected by the ‘Financial Times’, adding that “the low flows of Russian gas today to Europe coincide with the increase of geopolitical tensions over Ukraine.

Precisely this Monday delegations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (OTAN) and Moscow sat face-to-face in Brussels to address their security differences, with no concrete progress being made to resolve the crisis on the Russia-Ukraine border. Last Monday, US and Russian representatives opened a dialogue with the aim of reducing tension.

“While Gazprom is honoring its long-term contractual commitments, it has reduced spot sales to Europe,” says Fatih Birol.

In the interview with the aforementioned British media, the director of the IEA affirmed that Russia could increase gas deliveries for Europe “by at least a third”, despite the fact that the Eurasian giant has reiterated on numerous occasions that it has complied with all its contracts with Europe for the supply long-term gas, reports Ep.

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“While we understand that Gazprom is honoring its long-term contractual commitments, it has reduced spot sales to Europe, even though the price of long-term contracts is well below current spot price levels.” said Birol.

Likewise, Birol highlighted the role played by the Russian company in reducing the volume of gas stored in the facilities it controls within the EU, which is estimated to be at 50% of capacity, compared to the usual 70% in January.

“In terms of storage, the current storage deficit in the EU is largely due to Gazprom,” said Birol, for whom this situation accounts for half of the EU deficit, although storage of Gazprom it only represents 10% of the total storage capacity in the EU.

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