Sunday

23rd Jul 2017

Deja vu as Russia gas cuts hit eight more EU countries

  • Gazprom distribution map - the 2009 gas war damaged the firm's reputation as a reliable supplier (Photo: gazprom.ru)

Eight EU countries have joined Italy in noting a sharp drop in Russian gas supplies, in events recalling the massive 2009 crunch.

Gazprom deliveries to Austria and Slovakia reportedly fell by 30 percent on Thursday (2 February). Shipments to Poland fell 7 percent and Czech distributor RWE Transgaz said deliveries are "several" percent lower than normal.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The European Commission on Friday added that Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary and Romania have also been affected.

The cuts began in Italy on Tuesday. Earlier this week it reported a 10 percent drop, but the figure hit 20 percent on Thursday.

Member states created special reserves after the 2009 gas crunch - which cost EU firms hundreds of millions of euros and which saw blackouts in some former Communist EU countries in the middle of a harsh winter.

But there are signs the 2012 crunch could also get nasty.

Polish distributor PGNiG had already begun lowering supplies to three big industrial clients - including the country's main petrol refinery, PKN Orlen - before the Russian problem. It cited high demand due to the cold snap, prompting the government to tap emergency stocks.

Slovak distributor SPP told people not to worry because it can get help from Austria and the Czech Republic - themselves victims of cuts.

The parallels multiplied between 2012 and 2009 on Thursday when Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing EU-bound transit gas.

Gazprom chairman Alexander Medvedev told Interfax: "While sitting on transit pipelines, Ukraine is today taking gas at the level of 60 billion cubic metres a year, which goes far beyond the volumes covered by [our] contracts."

Ukrainian distributor Naftogaz said in a statement: "The volume of gas transit through Ukraine's territory and the off-take of imported gas are at levels set by the contract with Gazprom."

Moscow and Kiev - also as in 2009 - are currently engaged in a highly political gas price dispute.

Meanwhile, question marks hang over Gazprom's line on Ukraine.

Polish distributor PGNiG said the drop came on the Russia-Belarus-Poland pipeline, not on the Russia-Ukraine-Poland network.

And two sources inside Gazprom told press the company is struggling with internal problems.

"The gas has to be transported over very long distances, and it can take time to get the gas through to the consumer," one unnamed contact told Dow Jones. "Some requests are higher than we can put in the pipe ... requests for gas have been higher for more than a week," the second source told Reuters.

Opinion

Ukraine's New Year gas nightmare

Throughout 2011 Ukraine was locked in a dispute with Russia over gas prices. The quarrel is set to escalate in 2012 as Russia squeezes Kyiv to choose deeper integration with Moscow in exchange for cheaper gas.

Russia-Ukraine gas crunch could strike again, Putin says

Europe might face gas cuts anew this winter, but would get a "detailed" advance warning this time, if Russia decided to turn off the tap to Ukraine over their price disputes, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday during a televised question-and-answer session.

Agenda

This WEEK in the European Union

Greek debt and - potentially - a new Russia gas crisis will dominate EU affairs in the coming week.

Opinion

Greece needs a new plan

Two years into its third bailout, Greece needs to combine the necessary fiscal targets with a new vision. This can be done in the context of the ongoing industrial revolution.

Opinion

Ceta and pesticides: A citizens' rights issue

The trade agreement with Canada will begin to apply on 21 September. But there is still a potential conflict on the right to data protection vs. the right to access information.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary