Russia denies weaponising energy amid Europe gas crisis

gas is currently costing as much as five times as it did a year ago russia provides more than a third of europe’s gas and some are accusing it of restricting supplies well president putin has hit back at that i would go ahead you’re talking about accusations that russia uses energy sources as a weapon that is complete nonsense it’s rubbish it’s politically motivated non-justified blather yeah where do we use this weapon in which conflicts do we participate and as for the economy that is absolutely out of the question even in the toughest periods of the cold war russia fulfilled its contractual obligations in supplying gas to europe while president putin was responding to this comment from joe biden’s national security adviser in an interview with the bbc last week we’ve long been concerned about russia using energy as a tool of coercion and a political weapon we’ve seen it happen before and we could see it happen again well let’s take a look at why energy prices are high in europe broadly there’s a global squeeze on the supply of natural gas a cold winter in europe last year meant stored gas levels are now much lower than normal there was also increased demand from asia especially from china for liquefied natural gas so that’s eaten eaten into supply too and this is the result on gas prices you can see them going up this is hitting fuel bills for both households and companies across europe and some are arguing russia could do more to help russia could have been a and still can be more helpful our numbers show that russia can easily increase the the gas it is sending to europe by 15 percent well the accusation that russia is restricting supply connects to the state-backed energy company gazprom and a pipeline to the european union called nordstream 2. that’s a pipeline that’s been completed but hasn’t been switched on yet here’s one energy analyst gas problem can supply more gas to europe but refuses to do that saying that we will do that if you accept gasprom’s terms of handling north stream 2. that’s very simple this is pure black mail now there’s already a pipeline in place between russia and the european union it’s called nordstrom one nordstrom two run a lot runs alongside it through the baltic sea to germany it would when it switched on double the supply to europe it’s waiting approval though from european regulators and while that’s weights going on russia has consistently denied throttling supplies in order to get nordstrom 2 the go ahead russia’s deputy foreign minister has been talking about this issue with the bbc stephen sacca on our hard talk program you could also have pointed to the words of deputy prime minister and energy minister alexander novak who said very recently that in his view european certification of the nordstream 2 pipeline so that it could actually be used because we know it’s been built but it isn’t being used yet he said certification for use would definitely cool soaring european gas prices now to many in europe that sounds a little bit like an implicit threat that if they don’t do what you want with regard to nordstrom 2 then there could be problems ahead this winter uh it means mr serker that your preferred option will be not to certify so that prices so soar further uh i will say that we are talking here on a market that is kept in the hands of those who through spilling out policies and approaches determine what will happen in the next few weeks and months we would prefer to have here a bear market russia is about bears now it’s not about bullies it’s about bears this is where we work towards four let’s talk to tom marzec manso an analyst at the energy consultancy icis tom thanks for joining us on outside source do you think this is a problem that russia could solve it certainly is a problem that russia can solve and indeed the entire gas traded market is looking to russia to solve it there is certainly less gas coming into northwest europe than pre-covered times and the market is really waiting any day now for some sort of development that we can see that the volumes tick up whether they come through ukraine poland or uh the newly completed but not commissioned north stream two pipeline and i was mentioning the extra demand because of a cold winter and the extra demand from asia but where does the pandemic fit into this how does demand connect with that well i think it’s about the fact that we’ve bounced back globally so so quickly and we drew so that means the the economies of particularly in asia are significantly stronger and more energy intensive and energy hungry than they were and then anyone had it really expected so we’ve had that coupled with um as you mentioned some cold weather both in in russia and in europe at the end of previous winter which have meant these storage sites within the european union um and and within the uk are are lower than much lower than they need to be at this time of the year and can you help us put the supply of gas from russia to europe in the context of the overall supply do you think europe’s too reliant on the russians well we do consume a lot of russian gas but i suppose the point is that where else would we get it from at the moment the two sources of flexible supply to the europe to europe is either additional russian gas or global lng and we’ve seen over this summer that liquefied natural gas is is is being bought um by the asian market they’re consistently out competing uh european prices uh to to attract any spare cargos that may come out of qatar or america so we’re not really left with many other options in the short term and bearing in mind everything you said in that last answer i know that the european regulators haven’t approved nordstream 2 yet but is it really possible to see any other outcome than that eventually being switched on well i think ultimately it will get switched on um you know the the first the first half of the pipe is as you mentioned is ready to go basically um but also there is as i as i said earlier there is actually a lot of spare capacity in the pipelines that go through poland and ukraine that’s being underutilized at the moment and really before nordstrom’s switched on we’d like to see those those pipelines um increase their flow uh hopefully from the beginning of november really and then we could seriously see a drastic fall in the price of the uh the wholesale price in europe the the benchmark ttf and on that final point there will be people watching us in the uk and across europe thinking is there any respite coming it sounds like there might be in the medium term yeah i i think if if we see some signals in the next week that that these pipelines will get used more than they already are then then that will that will bring down the wholesale price uh the volumes will then arrive a few weeks later at the beginning of november um ideally hopefully um and and then there really would be some respect for for consumers be they industrial consumers or households  

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