Russia’s Gazprom has dumped its gas reserves in western Europe to a dramatic decline before winter, adding to fears that Moscow has escalated a deficit in the price range.
Although Europe’s stockpiles are low, European oil companies’ surveys point to significant shortcomings in Gazprom’s portfolio, which critics say is increasingly likely to try to squeeze energy into Europe.
“The biggest shortcoming is the location of Gazprom,” said Domenicantonio De Giorgio, an assistant professor of economics at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, who analyzed the data from Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), an economics agency.
“Putin and Gazprom still claim to have delivered all their long-term contracts with customers. Yes, they have offered their clients, but they have not given themselves,” he said.
Data from GIE shows that in countries where Gazprom does not have storage facilities, such as France and Italy, the level of natural gas reserves has reached full-time this time of year.
With the exception of Gazprom’s controlled environment, Europe’s gas reserves are within five years, which companies describe as storage facilities. Include the areas controlled by Gazprom, and overall coverage in Europe is lower, exceeding 75 percent compared to 85 to 95 percent over the past five years.
Gazprom affects about one-third of all gas reserves in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.
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Gazprom’s gas reserves, which are owned by Gazprom in Germany, which account for about one-fifth of the country’s storage, are less than 10 percent, filled in October 2019, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe data.
The Haidach facility in Austria, which is also used by Gazprom is one of the largest underground storage facilities in Central Europe, with only 20 percent full capacity.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he had instructed Gazprom to pump more gas into its German and Austrian depots after it filled the reservoir on November 8.
He had previously criticized the gas prices of European power plants for not pumping enough air into the groundwater before winter and denied that Moscow had banned it from Europe.
“This should bring positive results to the electronics market in Europe, or even better,” Putin told Gazprom chief Alexei Miller.
Putin’s comments came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told EU leaders last week that Russia was committed to boosting its gas reserves, according to diplomats familiar with the talks.
Opponents of Gazprom believe that allowing its storage space to shrink has been an unsightly but highly effective attempt to attract electricity prices in Europe, which threatens economic growth due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The gas industry was severely divided if Russia banned European imports, for which he was accused of forcing the rapid launch of the Nord Stream 2 bomb that would cross Ukraine into the Baltic Sea. in Germany.
Many analysts argued late in the summer that Russia’s production had skyrocketed when it had to re-export most of its goods to fill the reserves after the winter last year.
But last week Gazprom refused to stockpile additional pipelines that would allow it to expand into Europe next month – while Russia’s efforts to fill the warehouses should have failed.
“If you had asked me last month, I would have said that Russia is prioritizing filling their space,” Cuneyt Kazokoglu told Facts Global Energy, a consultant. “But their stocks are about to fill up now and in hindsight there seems to be nothing that will stop them from supplying more oil to Europe, but it still isn’t.”
Sebastian Bleschke, head of INES, Germany’s trade commission for the gas sector, said that although European stocks had been downgraded for a long time, it was difficult to say why Gazprom’s facilities were “not filled”.
Putin also strongly linked Nord Stream 2’s acceptance with the availability of more features, last week saying Gazprom could increase its travel by an additional 17.5bn cubic meters “the next day” to the pipeline by German authorities.
Workers at Nord Stream 2 said last week that the pipeline was filled with gas in preparation for the start of operations, indicating that Russia has gas.
Although neither Putin nor Miller have claimed that the air pumped to Europe has been subjected to any additional elements, which shows that Russia has not changed its mind on the approval of Nord Stream 2.
The future of TTF-connected natural gas, the price of crude oil in Europe, fell by 4.5 percent in Putin’s comments, indicating that the market believes Russia has not yet committed itself to providing more oil.
“Back in the autumn, a lot of Russian air could be the reason why it is moving [to Europe] was modest in its value, ”says Kateryna Filippenko, a leading European gas explorer, Wood Mackenzie.
“But now we believe the presence of natural gas has increased. . . Gazprom may be ready to provide more air, but the standard for Nord Stream 2 is getting green light. “
The German Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday that allowing the new pipeline to start supplying gas to Europe would not undermine strong security in Germany or the EU. A review of the ministry should pave the way for Nord Stream 2 to receive certification from the German Federal Network Agency.
Western European politicians have been slower to point fingers at Russia than at counterparts in Eastern Europe. But over the past two weeks, things have changed.
Annalena Baerbock, chairperson of Germany Green’s negotiating party, last week said Europe should not submit to “false” statements from Russia over its acceptance of Nord Stream 2, adding that she believed inflation was “deliberate”. it has happened ”.
Additional reports by Max Seddon in Moscow