Russia considers a new gas crisis in Europe possible in the future. “I do not rule out the possibility of such a situation repeating itself,” Alexander Novak, the deputy head of government responsible for energy issues, said on state television on Saturday. He therefore called on EU leaders to negotiate: “We are ready for dialogue.”
Russia had held out the prospect of further deliveries. However, Novak said, there have been no requests for this. According to him, about 25 million cubic metres of gas are missing in European storage facilities. “Something should be done about this,” Novak said.
The energy superpower has repeatedly rejected responsibility for the increased prices. Russia was fulfilling its contractual obligations in full, the deputy head of government said. Deliveries to the world markets had even been increased by 15 per cent compared to the previous year.
Russia itself had consumed more gas in 2021 than it had in a long time. Novak attributed this to the cold winter and the recovery of the economy.
Most recently, President Vladimir Putin had promoted the rapid commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which aims to bring natural gas from Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Deliveries via this route would ease tensions on the heated gas market, Novak said. The pipeline has been completed, but the German authorities have yet to issue an operating permit.
Experts were surprised in June when Russia did not react to rising prices by trying to sell more gas to Europe. The hypothesis emerged that Moscow was deliberately pushing prices up by limiting gas supplies – in order to give Europe an incentive to complete the fiercely contested Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany.
Moscow could “take advantage of its strong position to get concessions on several European regulations it disagrees with, including the potential new climate change and energy law currently under discussion in Brussels. A Russian attempt to roll back the EU sanctions imposed after the 2014 Crimea annexation could also be on the cards.