Russia Doesn’t Plan To Raise Gas Deliveries To Europe

Gazprom has not booked any space for April on the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline link to Germany, according to monthly auction results, which suggest that Russia does not intend to raise its natural gas supply to Europe.

No extra capacity, compared to the current volumes of gas transit, has been offered on the gas transit volumes through Ukraine, either, according to the outcome of the monthly auctions reported by Bloomberg on Monday.

The volume of flows of natural gas from Russia to Europe is anyone’s guess after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. Europe—unlike the United States—cannot afford to go completely without Russian gas.

Last week, Gazprom data showed that the Russian gas monopoly reduced its natural gas exports to countries outside the former Soviet Union by 28.5 percent between January 1 and March 15, compared to the same period of 2021.

Gazprom has said throughout this winter that it is fulfilling its contractual obligations, but the volumes it has been sending have been much lower than in previous years.

Low natural gas deliveries from Russia appear to have artificially tightened the European gas market, the IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol said in January, adding that energy systems “face significant risks” by relying too much on one supplier for a key energy source.

The risks became painfully clear just a month later, after Russia invaded Ukraine, with Europe unable to afford to ban imports of Russian gas, as the U.S. has already done.

If Russian gas flows to Europe were interrupted now, Europe would have enough gas to last it through the end of this winter and the following summer without having to curtail demand, energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie said last week.

The European Commission unveiled earlier this month a plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030, starting with gas. The EU will seek to diversify gas supplies, speed up the roll-out of renewable gases, and replace gas in heating and power generation—all this can reduce EU demand for Russian gas by two-thirds before the end of the year, the Commission says.

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