Gas prices have soared to almost 600 percent of the European benchmark this year, caused by a combination of low stocked inventories, and a rise in demand following the easing of lockdown restrictions across Europe. Russia currently supplies around 35 percent of all European gas, and insists that it is meeting all contractual agreements with European countries in the process.
European politicians are facing ever-growing pressure by citizens over exorbitant gas prices, raising concerns that as winter approaches, heating bills will become more and more unsustainable.
This has resulted in demands that Russia could supply more gas, yet is using the price hike as leverage in its dispute over the Gazprom supported Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany.
Kiev has criticised Moscow over the pipeline which bypasses Ukraine, and has accused the Kremlin of “politicising the gas crisis in Europe”.
EU panic as leaders seek to reduce Russian gas dependency
One European gas supplier from Italy, Eni confirmed that Gazprom was however meeting its obligations.
“Eni is receiving from Gazprom all the quantity of gas which are nominated within the long-term contracts,” read a statement to Reuters over the issue.
However, politicians are not convinced that Russia has done enough to increase supplies, and lower prices at the same time, unlike some other suppliers.
Speaking of the efforts made by Norway, EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen said: “We are grateful that Norway is stepping up its production, but this does not seem to be the case in Russia.”
EU parliament members want an investigation to start into the behaviour of Gazprom over competition rules.
Claiming that in fact no more gas has been sent, and that Gazprom is pushing the crisis further in order to force a swift approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which although complete, is yet to see gas flow through its pipes.
Some European nations and the United States have opposed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project claiming that it will force Europe to become more dependant on Russian gas.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin said the country was boosting supplies and acting as a reliable trading partner, but blamed the EU for shifting towards a spot-market policy under steps taking years ago.
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Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov said: “As far as I know, Gazprom is in constant contact with its customers in Europe, all permissible additional supply requests are being met by Gazprom.”
Gazprom sources claim that they have not received any demands from European nations to send in more gas.
Should it become active, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will be capable of adding an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year to the European market.
Russia currently sits on the world’s largest supply of proven reserves of natural gas with 24.3 percent of the reserves, followed by Iran on 17.3 percent, and Qatar on 12.5 percent.
As a percentage share, the largest supply in Europe is Norway with just 1 percent of the world’s proven gas reserves, followed by The Netherlands with 0.5 percent.
Britain according to the Statistical Review of World Energy possesses 0.13 percent of global reserves at 8,502,000 MMcf.