Italian Gas firm Eni says Russian gas supply cut by half

Russian Gas

Image Source: DW

Italy is the latest in a long line of European countries to claim increased Russian gas supply restrictions. After facing deficits for two days, Eni said it would only receive half of the 63 million cubic meters per day it had sought from Gazprom on Friday.

Germany has accused Gazprom of aiming to raise energy prices by drastically cutting supply. According to Gazprom, repairs to the Nord Stream pipeline are to blame.

Russia provides 40% of the natural gas to the European Union. It also provides 27 percent of the EU’s imported oil, for which it pays Russia roughly €400 billion ($430 billion; £341 billion) per year.

In response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU has taken steps to wean itself off Russian fossil resources, with most oil imports banned by the end of 2022. In addition, it has pledged to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds within a year, but further restrictions, such as an outright ban, have been difficult to agree on.

Member states have been asked to store gas during the hotter summer months in anticipation of increased demand for fuel in the winter, but Russia’s recent supply cuts have raised fears that the continent may struggle to build up enough storage.

Read Also: Russia halts supply of gas to Finland

If Russia continues to cut supplies, two government sources told Reuters that Italy could announce a “state of alert” on gas next week. Such a step would set in motion a sequence of measures aimed at cutting consumption, such as restricting gas to certain industrial customers under current contracts, increasing coal power plant production, and requesting gas imports from other sources.

On Friday, Slovakia reported receiving less than half of the usual levels through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany over the Baltic Sea.

Meanwhile, France said it had not received Russian gas through Germany since June 15, but it is getting supply from other sources.

Read Also: Russia earns 97bn on energy exports despite ongoing war

Germany has accused Gazprom of aiming to raise energy prices by drastically cutting supply, but the energy company claims the delay is due to the delayed return of equipment serviced in Canada by Siemens Energy. Large drops in the Russian gas supply have also been observed in Austria. However, the Kremlin has stated that this was not planned.

Russian gas supply to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands has already been halted after they refused to pay in Russian roubles. The payment demand was interpreted as an attempt by Russia to bolster the rouble after Western sanctions battered it. Demand for roubles is projected to rise as foreign exchange demand rises, pushing up the currency’s value.

Liquefied natural gas imports have boosted gas storage levels across Europe this year, with a substantial portion coming from the United States. According to ING Research, stores across the EU are currently 52 percent full, slightly lower than the five-year average but higher than the 43 percent seen at this time last year.

“However, a lengthy outage will raise concerns about the EU’s ability to construct sufficient storage in time for the next heating season,” they warned.

Between the 11th and 21st of July, Nord Stream 1 will undergo yearly maintenance, which will cease all gas flows.

Opinions expressed by Atlanta Wire contributors are their own.

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