Wednesday

25th Jan 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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

EU should raise own taxes, says report

A group chaired by former Italian PM and EU commissioner Mario Monti says Brexit should be used to create EU-level levies to depend less on member states contributions, and to abolish member states rebates in the EU budget.

News in Brief

  1. VW's internal Dieselgate probe not yet done
  2. Israel defies EU policy with huge settlement expansion
  3. Martin Schulz to be candidate for German chancellor
  4. EU commission gives MEPs Dieselgate paper at last moment
  5. EU parliament committee backs EU-Canada deal
  6. UK MPs must vote on Brexit trigger, court rules
  7. Greek island mayors plead for the transfer of migrants
  8. Tzipi Livni cancels Brussels trip amid war crimes probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsKyrgyzstan: no Justice for Human Rights Defender Azimjan Askarov
  2. Dialogue PlatformThe Influence of Turkish Politics in Europe After the Coup Attempt
  3. World VisionEU Urged to do Better Ahead of Helsinki Conference on Syria
  4. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  5. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  6. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  7. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  8. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  9. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  10. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  11. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  12. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism

Latest News

  1. No Turkey-type migrant deal with Libya, says EU commission
  2. EU to Trump: Protectionism is 'doomed to fail'
  3. The French town that swung from socialist to far-right
  4. UK parliament must give Brexit approval, judges rule
  5. 'No indication' VW used EU loans to cheat
  6. Fillon promotes pro-Russia views in Berlin
  7. Dutch PM tells people to 'act normal, or go away'
  8. EU to step up effort against Russian and Islamist propaganda