Natural gas: G7 and EU will prohibit restart of Russian gas pipelines – Correo Económico

By | May 14, 2023

The G7 and the EU will ban imports of Russian natural gas to areas where Moscow has cut off supplies, officials involved in the negotiations said, marking the first time Western powers have blocked pipeline gas trade since the invasion of Ukraine.

The decision, due to be finalized by G7 leaders at a summit in Hiroshima next week, will prevent the resumption of Russian gas exports from pipelines en route to countries including Poland and Germany, where Moscow cut supplies last year and caused an energy crisis throughout Europe.

IEA: Three uncertainties for the sufficiency of natural gas [γράφημα]

the security of the west

Western powers want to ensure that Russia does not see a surge in energy revenue as they try to increase economic pressure 15 months after Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

One of the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the move was taken “to ensure that the partners do not change their minds in the future.”

A draft G7 statement seen by the Financial Times said the group of leading economies would further reduce the use of Russian energy sources “including preventing the reopening of routes previously closed due to Russia’s use of energy as a weapon.” “. a resolution of the conflict.

Symbolism and values

While the measures are unlikely to directly affect gas flows, they underline Brussels’ deep determination to make permanent the quick and painful turnaround from decades of dependence on Russian energy.

The imposition of the ban is highly symbolic because at the start of the war the EU had avoided targeting pipeline flows given its heavy reliance on natural gas from Moscow. Russia cut off supplies, causing gas prices to soar to more than 10 times their normal level.

But prices have fallen significantly in recent months as Europe managed to rein in demand over the winter, accelerated the development of renewable energy and refueled from alternative sources such as seaborne shipments of liquefied natural gas.

Moscow’s share of European gas imports has fallen from more than 40% to less than 10%, while the mild winter has helped boost EU gas reserves.

European gas reserves

Officials are confident that natural gas storage facilities, already 60% full compared to 30% in the corresponding period in 2022, will reach full capacity well before the arrival of next winter.

“With European gas storage unusually full for the time of year and wholesale prices returning to what can only be considered their normal price range, it can be understood why Europe’s leaders are confident that this plan will not destroy the safety of the supply in the short term. said Tom Marzec-Manser of energy consultancy ICIS, before adding that “it is important, however, not to be too complacent about the outlook for the European gas market.”

Germany and Poland

Pipelines cut off by Russia, including the northern stretch of the Druzhba line that supplies refineries in Germany and Poland, could also be blocked under EU measures to prevent flows from resuming.

An EU diplomat said the proposal needed further clarification from Brussels to show how it would change the “status quo”, especially since some of Kazakhstan’s oil flows through Druzhba. “It should be clear exactly how it will work,” they said.

Berlin and Warsaw, despite being exempt from Russian oil sanctions, said they would voluntarily end deliveries of crude through Druzhba last year, though Poland continued to receive supplies until Russia cut off flows in February. German refiners have stopped ordering Russian crude since the beginning of this year.

Some of the main natural gas pipelines from Russia to Europe, Nord Stream 1 and 2, were sabotaged last year and only one of its four sections remains active. But other pipelines, like the Yamal line to Poland, remain intact.

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