22nd Jan 2018

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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.

  • 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.

EU seeks to extend Morocco fish deal, despite legal opinion

An EU court advisor says an EU fish deal with Rabat should be scrapped due to the Morocco-annexed territory of the Western Sahara. The fisheries agreement is set to expire in July but the European Commission want to renew it.

US warns on flare-up in Ukraine 'crisis'

Fighting in Ukraine escalated to "hellish" levels not seen since February amid warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe in the run-up to Christmas.

News in Brief

  1. Germany confirms attendance at air quality summit
  2. Nearly half of 'fixed' Dieselgate cars show problems
  3. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook up hate speech deletion
  4. UK mulls bridge to France
  5. German far-right float anti-asylum bill
  6. EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process
  7. 'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer
  8. Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on the agenda This WEEK
  2. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  3. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems
  4. UK loses EU satellite centre to Spain
  5. Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May
  6. Ethiopian regime to get EU migrants' names
  7. EU to lend Greece up to €7bn more next week
  8. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia