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Problems of the European Union on the way of abandoning gas imports from Russia. Analysis

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The role of the European Commission in developing common rules for gas relations between the European Union and Russia is diminishing – said Agata Łoskot-Strachota, an expert of the Center for Eastern Studies, in the analysis. However, she indicated that since April this year, supplies from Russia have decreased.

Strong dependence, according to an analyst at the Center for Eastern Studies Of the European Union from Russian gas – the consequences of which are reinforced by the prices of gas and energy that have been rampant since last autumn and increasingly hitting Europeans in their pockets – is one of the factors hindering a decisive and swift response to the Russian aggression on Ukraine. “Currently, there is a discussion about the possibility of imposing an embargo on gas imports from Russia it has de facto disappeared from the EU agenda “, wrote Agata Łoskot-Strachota in a report entitled” EU problems with a rapid and coordinated withdrawal from Russian gas ”

An expert with no precise goals

Currently, as Łoskot-Strachota assessed, there is no clear determination in the EU to achieve the previously assumed reduction of imports from Russia by two-thirds by the end of the year. It is also not clear what exactly this would mean – whether a reduction in deliveries in December 2022 compared to December 2021, or a reduction of 66%. imports throughout 2022. Finally, there are no agreed specific reduction targets for individual countries and no precise role to be played by the European Commission in this process.

At present, the discussion about the possibility of imposing an embargo on gas imports from Russia has de facto disappeared from the EU agenda

The author of the report wrote that, apart from issues related to the legislation on gas storage (the obligation to fill them up before the heating season and other changes to the regulation on the security of gas supply and the regulation on conditions for access to EU gas pipeline networks), it also reduced the interest of most Member States in developing joint, coordinated measures by the European Commission to facilitate the preparation for the coming winter and the survival of the still possible gas crisis.

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“There is no significant interest, at least for the time being, of any significant interest in the platform for joint gas purchases (Bulgaria and Greece clearly want to use it on a regional scale), nor any tangible results achieved thanks to the use of this instrument. on Russian gas “- reads the OSW publication.

Analysis: Countries are looking for other sources

The expert indicated that both the largest importers of raw material from Russia in the EU, such as Germany (whose dependence, according to the government’s declaration, is expected to drop from over 50% to around 30% by the end of 2022) and Italy (signing successive contracts for the import of raw materials from African countries), as well as smaller countries such as Lithuania (which stopped importing from Russia altogether since April), Estonia (which, together with Finland, is launching a floating LNG terminal this winter) or Slovakia (which has just signed an agreement to import gas from Norway this and next year).

Gazprom headquarters in RussiaPAP / EPA / ANATOLY MALTSEV

Łoskot-Strachota wrote that since the beginning of Russia’s aggression, EU companies have tried to maximize the volumes imported from Gazprom under long-term contracts and, inter alia, to fill up warehouses in the face of an increasingly unpredictable future for imports from Russia. Paradoxically, this resulted in – as she noted – an increase in European payments for gas (and oil) to Moscow and increased pressure from the EU public opinion to suspend supplies.

Suspended gas imports, refusal to accept payments

In April, the transmission of Russian gas to Europe began to decline, which was initially associated mainly with the market situation and lower, stabilizing gas prices (compared to those at the end of February and March). Later, the increasingly difficult relations between the EU and the EU began to reduce Russian exports Russia.

Agata Łoskot-Strachota recalled that they were the first to stop gas imports from Russia Lithuania, Latvia and Estoniaand on April 27, Russia suspended deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria. Then – as she indicated – from May 31st, supplies to the Dutch company GasTerra stopped, and on June 1 – to Danish Ørsted and Shell Energy Europe Limited, which supplies some of the raw material to the German market.

“Russia was also supposed to refuse to accept payments for gas from Gazprom Marketing & Trading at the end of April, and on May 11, as part of contracting, it suspended deliveries to all companies from the Gazprom Germania group. These include a number of companies active in the gas trading market, such as Wingas or WIEH, through which Gazprom sold gas to recipients in Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France and Belgium, among others. According to the estimates of the German Minister of Economy and Climate Protection, Russian contracts resulted in a decrease in Russian gas supplies to Germany by approximately 10 million m3 per day “- we read in the publication.

It also wrote that only in the first five months of 2022, the volume of gas sales to the countries of the so-called further abroad (Europe without the Baltic states, Turkey and China) was to drop by 27.6 per cent. year on year, with exports to China clearly growing. Since April, as a result of the refusal to make payments in rubles and / or individual decisions to suspend the import of Russian gas, supplies from Russia to importing countries in 2021 have a total of about 23 billion m3 of gas. Additionally, the level of imports from EU countries, including Germany, which are gradually diversifying their sources of supply, is falling and will go down.

PAP, Center for Eastern Studies

Main photo source: PAP / EPA / ANATOLY MALTSEV

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