The Kremlin will keep gas supplies to Europe at a minimum until the EU lifts sanctions – Bloomberg

Russia is likely to keep gas supplies to the European Union at a minimum, increasing pressure on it due to sanctions, sources told Bloomberg.

According to the agency, officially the Russian authorities cite the repair of a turbine, which Gazprom did not receive from Canada, as the reason for the reduction in gas supplies. However, in reality, Moscow is using supply disruptions to encourage European countries to “rethink painful sanctions” and support Ukraine in the war, Bloomberg sources say.

And it is expected that the Kremlin and Gazprom will continue to find various formal reasons to restrict the flow of gas to Europe, preventing European consumers from building up the reserves they need for the winter period of consumption.

On July 26, the countries of the European Union agreed on an emergency plan in the event of a complete cessation of gas supplies from Russia. This is reported by the German agency DPA.

The agency claims countries failed to approve a single 15% cut in gas consumption, so this key clause is now voluntary. The emergency plan, which in addition to reducing consumption, includes a number of measures to save fuel and increase stocks for a successful heating season, will begin in August and will last until March 2023.

The European Commission (EC) has been preparing a plan in case of refusal of Russian gas for a long time, representatives of the EC have previously admitted that they have come to terms with the cessation of supplies from Russia and are forced to prepare for the passage of winter without supplies from Russia. However, the original plan assumed a single reduction in consumption by 15% within the entire European Union, such a measure caused a wave of indignation among national governments.

Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece are an incomplete list of those who opposed such reductions in consumption. The southern countries insisted that due to record-breaking warm summers and droughts, they received less power from hydroelectric power plants, so gas for them remains the only alternative to energy generation. Eastern European states noted that they simply had no alternatives to gas during the heating season.

On Monday, July 25, it became known that Siemens handed over all the necessary documentation and began the process of transporting the turbine to Helsinki, from where it will be delivered to the compressor station by land. Since June, Russian and European authorities have been arguing in absentia about reducing gas supplies via Nord Stream. The European side insists that Moscow is using gas supplies as leverage on Europe. Russia assures that it is acting in accordance with contractual obligations, and all the reasons for the reduction in supplies are related to anti-Russian sanctions.

Prior to the gas dispute, Nord Stream remained a key route for gas supplies to Europe. The basic capacity of the pipeline is 170 million cubic meters per day, in June Gazprom reduced the capacity to 40%, or about 60 million cubic meters per day. The pipeline will now operate at approximately 20% of its declared capacity. The European stock exchange immediately reacted to the company's message, where gas prices jumped by around 10%.

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