Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Amid gas supply shortages & surging prices, Putin directs Gazprom to fill EU storage units once Russian domestic demand satisfied — RT

To secure sufficient winter gas supplies for all of Europe

To secure sufficient winter gas supplies for all of Europe, Russian energy giant Gazprom must start increasing volumes in its EU storage units, once it satisfies domestic demand, President Vladimir Putin ordered on Wednesday.

Russia's own gas reserves have been under pressure this autumn, due to a perfect storm of negative conditions: an abnormally cold winter last year, and a frosty fall, combined with increased demand as the country's economy recovered from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"[Pumping more gas to Western Europe] would allow you to fulfill your contract commitments in a secure, stable and regular manner [and] supply our European partners with gas during the autumn and winter periods," Putin said, during a meeting with the long-time Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller.

Putin specifically ordered the executive to increase the amount of gas in the company's storage facilities in Germany and Austria, both EU member states, "on a scheduled basis," starting on November 8. By that time, Russia's own gas storage units are expected to be full. According to the president, such actions would help "create a more favorable situation on the European energy market."

As of mid-October, the EU's underground gas storage facilities were only 71% full. Fears sparked by the fact that the storage spaces were under-filled have been among the reasons for soaring spot gas prices that, in turn, led to a crisis in the EU gas industry. Earlier in October, gas prices almost breached the threshold of $2,000 per thousand cubic meters. Prices went down after Russia vowed to sell more gas to the rest of Europe.

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