Saturday

23rd Feb 2019

Gazprom warns EU on Russian gas supplies

  • Moscow: the Russian monopoly feeds 30 percent of French, German and Italian gas consumption (Photo: Russian Embassy)

Russian state gas monopoly Gazprom has warned EU member states against blocking its ambitions to expand in Europe, threatening it could shift gas supplies to North America or China.

The Russian company's warning followed press reports that the British government is considering a change in its merger rules to prevent the possible takeover of Centrica, the UK's major gas supplier, by Gazprom.

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"It is necessary to note that attempts to limit Gazprom's activities in the European market and politicise questions of gas supply, which in fact are of an entirely economic nature, will not lead to good results," the company stated on Wednesday (19 April).

Gazprom hinted it could redirect gas supplies to other world markets if EU governments prevented its expansion in Europe.

"We just want European countries to understand that we have other alternatives in terms of gas sales. We have a fast-growing Chinese market, and a market for liquefied natural gas in the US. If the European Union wants our gas, it has to consider our interests as well," Sergei Kupriyanov, Gazprom's spokesman, told the Financial Times.

The Russian monopoly already provides about 30 percent of gas supplies for France, Germany and Italy, and over 90 percent to new EU member states in central and eastern Europe.

It has been outspoken about its ambitions to expand to the UK, which is also becoming more dependent on overseas gas suppliers.

This trend is viewed with concern in Europe, especially as a price dispute between Gazprom and Ukraine in January resulted in gas deliveries to some EU states dropping by 40 percent.

EU imports of oil and gas are set to rise from 50 percent to 70 percent by 2030 on present trends, while global energy consumption will rise by 100 percent with China and India leading growth.

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The EU entered a new "energy era" on 1 January when Gazprom directors at 16 Nametkina street, Moscow, turned off the tap to transit state Ukraine, but the roots of the EU's energy problem lie in the world's dwindling supply of oil.

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