Sunday

16th Jun 2019

Russian energy chief advocates EU oil supply cut

Russia should cut oil supplies to "overfed" Europe, the chief of Russian pipeline monopolist Transneft has said.

Less than a week after Russia's state gas monopoly Gazprom threatened to shift gas supplies from the EU to North America or China, Transneft's president Semyon Vainshtok has now threatened Moscow could do the same with crude oil.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Russia is increasingly looking to Asia as an alternative customer to Europe (Photo: Gazprom)

"We have overfed Europe with crude. And every single economic manual says that excessive supplies depress prices," Mr Vainshtok told the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta on Monday (24 April) according to Reuters.

"So far we cannot reduce supplies as all our exports are going to Europe. But as soon as we divert [flows] to China, South Korea, Australia, Japan it will immediately take away crude from our European colleagues," he said.

The Russian oil chief was referring to plans by Transneft to construct the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline, aimed at feeding booming Asia with Russian oil, according to Russian media.

Mr Vainshtok's comments are likely to increase worries in European capitals over Moscow's reliability as an energy supplier, fuelled last week by Gazprom chief Alexei Miller.

Mr Miller said it was "no accident" that the state gas monopoly was looking at markets outside Europe following alleged attempts by European governments to frustrate Gazprom's activities on the European energy market.

The comments were widely seen as a reaction to British resistance against a possible takeover by Gazprom of the main UK gas supplier, Centrica.

Gazprom's threat was characterised by the German conservative member of the European Parliament Elmar Brok as "the announcement of a Cold War with new methods."

Meanwhile, Gazprom has also expressed an interest in obtaining a majority share in a planned German energy plant near Greifswald.

The move would enable Gazprom to sell gas from a planned direct pipeline between Russia and Germany directly to German customers, Die Welt reports.

US worried about EU energy dependency

Washington has also signalled uneasiness with Moscow's energy power game.

The Financial Times reports that US foreign secretary Condoleezza Rice is set to press the Greek government to reject Gazprom's participation in a new gas pipeline between Greece and Turkey.

Ms Rice, who will visit Athens on Tuesday, wants to see both Greece and Turkey reduce their reliance on Russian gas supplies.

Washington's concern echoes that of the International Energy Agency (IEA), which has warned Europe against becoming too dependent on Russian energy.

IEA chief economist Fatih Birol told Financial Times Deutschland last week that "Europe must change its energy policy in order to avoid becoming too dependent on Russian gas."

Currently, Gazprom 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.

Russia also supplies about one quarter of Europe's crude oil.

The Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Store has suggested that increased extraction of oil and natural gas from the Barents Sea may provide Europe with its much needed energy.

Norway has jurisdiction over one part of the Barents Sea.

Trump advocates no-deal Brexit on eve of UK visit

Johnson and Farage in charge, a no-deal Brexit, chlorinated chicken in British shops, and privatised healthcare - that is what the UK should head towards, Trump and his ambassador have said.

Millions needed by mid-June to feed war-stricken Gazans

The UN is looking for another $60m by mid-June to stave off hunger in the Gaza Strip in the hopes of averting another flashpoint. The demand follows a two-day war earlier this month that killed 25 Palestinians and four Israelis.

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

News in Brief

  1. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds
  2. EU ups US imports in beef deal
  3. Unicef: UK among 'least family-friendly' in Europe
  4. Czech PM: No joint 'V4' candidate in commission race
  5. Johnson tops first round to replace May, three eliminated
  6. Bratislava will host new European Labour Authority
  7. Juncker cautions against further climate goals
  8. Study: Counterfeit medicine is a 'growing threat' in EU

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  2. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  3. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  4. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  5. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  6. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC
  7. Europe's oil supplies 'at risk' after tanker attacks
  8. EU paths fork for Albania and North Macedonia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us