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EU Asks To Be Ready For Russian Gas Shut-Off

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EU Asks To Be Ready For Russian Gas Shut-Off
21 Jul 2022
5 min read

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News Synopsis

The European Commission has urged countries across the continent to cut their consumption of gas by 15% between August to March in the wake of fears that Russia might stop the supply.

The target is voluntary, but it will be legally binding when Moscow stops the taps this summer.The crucial Nord Stream 1 pipeline from Russia to Germany was shut down to maintain for 10 days. It's due to be restored this Thursday. However, there are fears that Moscow may not be able to deliver on its promises.

In addition to the uncertainty, Vladimir Putin recently said that it wasn't certain if or the condition that a turbine of the pipeline could return to after the repairs made in Canada.

The Russian president warned that there was an opportunity that the system could have to be turned off at "some moment" as well Nord Stream 1 would be shut down.

Russia provided Europe with 40 percent of natural gas supply last year, making Germany the biggest importer on the continent in 2020, and then Italy.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters that a Europe-wide cut-off is currently an "likely possibility".

"Russia is threatening us with blackmail. Russia uses energy as a weapon" she claimed. "Therefore it is imperative that in all circumstances that there is a partial major cut-off Russian gas, or complete shut-off from Russian gassupply, Europe should be prepared."

Since Russia has invaded Ukraine the country has cut supply to several nations that have resisted its demand for payment of gas in roubles. This includes Poland, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland. It is also accused of cutting the amount of supplies, making it harder for EU nations to build reserves prior to winter.

The UK receives less than five percent of its fuel from Russia however, the price of gas is influenced by the fluctuations in global markets. The International Energy Agency (IEA) had also asked European nations to further cut down on gas consumption. The agency said that Russia's recent moves to limit gas flow, as well as other supply disruptions, constitute an indication of a "red warning" warning to EU.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA has said that, despite efforts to lessen dependence on Russian gas but it's not enough to stop Europe "finding itself in a very precarious spot currently" according to Birol, who added that the coming months would be "critical".

TWN In-Focus