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Energy watchdog says Russia is undermining Europe’s gas supply

The Paris-based IEA, an energy watchdog for developed countries, has warned that high energy prices and consumer pain caused by the gas crisis argue for future mandatory storage quotas for European companies.

“We believe that there are strong elements of tension in the European gas markets due to Russia’s behavior,” Birol told reporters, noting that “the low flows of Russian gas to Europe today ‘ hui coincide with heightened geopolitical tensions over Ukraine “.

Russian gas company Gazprom slashed exports to Europe by 25% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2021 despite high market prices and reduced spot sales while other exporters boosted them, Birol said.

“The current storage deficit in the European Union is largely due to Gazprom,” he added. “Low levels of storage at the company’s EU-based facilities account for half of the EU’s storage deficit, although Gazprom’s facilities only represent 10% of the company’s total storage capacity. EU. “

Russian energy exports have been the center of attention amid a standoff between Russia and the West as Russia ramps up its troop presence near neighboring Ukraine, which is trying to forge ties closer to NATO.

Some European Union lawmakers have accused Russia, which supplies more than 30% of the bloc’s natural gas, of using the crisis as leverage while Russia and NATO hold talks in Brussels on Wednesday.

Moscow denied and Gazprom said it had fully fulfilled European contracts.

Still, Birol said Russia could increase deliveries to Europe by at least a third with ample spare capacity, the equivalent of 10% of the EU’s or China’s average monthly gas consumption. a full LNG ship every day via commercially available pipelines.

Unlike its relations with the European Union, Russia is delivering natural gas in excess of its contractual commitments to China, Birol added.

“I believe regulations in Europe should be reviewed to ensure that storage levels are in place to cover the needs of end users with mandatory minimum storage obligations for all commercial operators.”