St. Peterburg / Brussels (dpa) – The exploding gas prices and the attacks from the EU against the gas superpower Russia have been a top priority for President Vladimir Putin for days. He categorically defends himself against accusations that Russia is responsible for the ever new records.
Consumers in Germany are worried about whether they will be able to pay their heating bills in the future. Putin now admits that urgent action is needed to ease the situation.
“Europe is turning blue from the cold without Russian gas”, was the headline of the Moscow daily “Nezavisimaya Gazeta”. Other Russian media are already celebrating the 69 – year-old as a possible savior from an impending cold shock to the Europeans in view of the “panic on the gas market”. that the state-owned company Gazprom can help if it doesn’t get too expensive for it. Russia is open to offers from bulk buyers from the EU, emphasizes the Kremlin.
The solution? Gas transit through Ukraine could be expanded significantly. But that is expensive for Gazprom. It is Putin’s way of saying that the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline is ready for cheap gas transportation. The only thing missing is the operating license from the German authorities. The Kremlin repeatedly points out that the rapid start-up could ease the energy crisis.
It is not Russia that is to blame for the high prices, but the situation on the world market – and the EU’s failed energy policy stresses Putin. Despite Russia’s warnings, she had moved away from long-term contracts and switched to trading on the energy exchanges. “Today it is clear that this policy is an absolute mistake.”
The Deputy Prime Minister responsible for energy issues, Alexander Nowak, also emphasizes that Russia has no interest in such high gas prices despite the profits for the treasury . Because of the high costs, Nowak sees the danger that the transition to alternative energies will accelerate in the EU. Russia wants to sell its fossil fuels oil, gas and coal to Europe for as long as possible. The accusations from the EU that Russia is manipulating the gas price “in order to fill the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2 with gas more quickly are unfounded and absurd,” says Rainer Seele, President of the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce (AHK). Gazprom is delivering the agreed quantities, which Chancellor Angela Merkel also emphasized this week.
Seele has long been the head of the energy companies Wintershall Dea and OMV, two of the five European companies that financed Nord Stream 2. “Anyone who is interested in inexpensive gas for German and European households and industrial companies should rely on cooperation instead of confrontation with Moscow,” he says. the free game of supply and demand was set ». By renouncing long-term supply contracts for pipeline gas, there are now risks, “the consequences of which are now affecting European industry and millions of private households.” According to AHK data, Germany consumes around 87 billion cubic meters of gas per year, of which 55 percent comes from Russia.
But even if Russia is not for is responsible for the rise in energy prices, the question in Europe is whether the country might not deliberately miss opportunities to ease the situation. The gas price has increased tenfold since the beginning of the year. But Gazprom is not opening the valves yet. First, the country’s own storage facilities would have to be replenished because a possibly cold winter is imminent, the company said.
It is clear that Russia is questioning an EU-internal discussion about climate protection measures in order to get out delay the generation of electricity with fossil fuels such as gas as far as possible. EU states such as Poland also criticize the fact that energy prices are partly due to CO2 emissions trading. This makes electricity generation with fossil fuels more expensive in order to induce companies to save carbon dioxide.
In the EU, the discussions therefore revolve primarily around the question of how to avoid strong fluctuations in energy prices in the future could become. The European Commission wants to propose options for action in the coming week. It is conceivable that EU countries will work together when purchasing gas or at least create joint strategic reserves. The first directional decisions could be made in around two weeks at the next regular EU summit.
What should be important here is how great the risk is assessed that there could be further sharp price increases in the future. Experts such as EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson currently expect prices to gradually fall from spring onwards. The global hunger for energy after the corona crisis is responsible for the current situation. Added to this are the shrinking gas supplies after the unusually cold winter, lower gas deliveries due to maintenance work on pipelines and a decline in gas production in Europe.