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Russia is once again restricting natural gas exports to European countries

PRAGUE – Russia on Friday cut natural gas to Europe again, including halving supplies to Italy and Slovakia and all to France, as the countries worked to reduce their reliance on Russian supplies war in Ukraine.

It marks the third day of significant cuts in the fuel that powers industry and generates electricity in Europe, which have also hit Germany and Austria. It has pushed up already high energy prices Driving record inflation in the European Union.

Russia blames a technical problem for the cuts Nord Stream 1 key pipeline for Germany and France and said Canada’s refurbished devices were stuck there because of western sanctions. Leading politicians in Germany and Italy called the cuts a political move, and it is the energy tensions in Europe escalatedto Russia earlier shutdown of natural gas to Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, the Netherlands and Denmark.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday that the cuts were “blackmail (against) both individual countries and Europe as a whole”.

Russia has told state-controlled Slovak gas company SPP that it will cut supplies to the country by 50%, SPP Director Richard Prokypcak told a conference in Bratislava. The reason for the cut has not been clarified.

Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom told Italian gas company Eni on the same day that it would deliver just 50% of Friday’s gas request, cutting power to one of Europe’s biggest importers of Russian gas for a third day.

Gazprom on Wednesday cut Italy’s requested delivery by 15%. ANSA news agency reported that the Russian company cut them by 35% on Thursday. Italy gets 40% of its gas from Russia but has worked to find alternative sources in countries like Algeria.

And France no longer gets natural gas from Russia. French gas operator GRTGaz said Russian supplies via Germany ground to a halt on Wednesday after falling 60% in the first five months of the year.

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The operator said Friday that despite stopping Russian supplies this summer, no gas supply disruptions are expected, thanks in part more broadcasts about Spain. France typically gets about 17% of its natural gas from Russia, but overall, gas makes up a relatively small part of France’s energy mix, at about 16%.

The reduction in deliveries to France is “a consequence of what is already known Reduction” in gas supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, said the spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Economics, Stephan Gabriel Haufe. He did not have any further details on the specific reasons for the cut.

Russia has said Canadian sanctions have prevented German partner Siemens Energy from supplying equipment sent there for an overhaul. The German government said maintenance shouldn’t have been an issue until the fall and Russia’s decision should sow uncertainty and push prices higher.

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“Both us and Germany and others claim it’s a lie, there is a political use of gas” by Russia, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv: on Thursday.

In Slovakia, Prokypcak downplayed the impact of the cuts, although “there is a real risk that supplies from Russia will be completely halted,” CTK news agency quoted him as saying.

In the previous days, cuts reached 10% on Wednesday and 34% on Thursday. To diversify supplies, Slovakia recently agreed with Norway to purchase gas from the North Sea via Germany and also LPG from other countries.

Economy Secretary Richard Sulik said the new deals would reduce his country’s dependence on Russian gas by 65%. Before the deals, Slovakia got 85% of its gas from Russia.

Slovakia has about a third of the country’s annual consumption in its gas storage facilities and plans to have enough gas stored for the winter season by July 10.

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Austrian oil and gas group OMV said Thursday Gazprom had informed it of a cut in supplies but didn’t say by how much.

The European Union is trying Reduction of gas imports from Russia by two-thirds by the end of the year and has been using imported liquefied petroleum gas from the United States to start that gap. But one Explosion and fire at a key US export facility in Freeport, Texas, shut down a fifth of the country’s gas export capacity, underscoring concerns about the fragility of Europe’s gas supply.

Short-term natural gas prices remained elevated on Friday at 126 euros per megawatt for gas futures for the month ahead. That’s an increase of about 50% from Monday.

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Gas prices had fallen with the end of the winter heating season, offering some relief to European utilities scrambling to fill up underground storage to have enough to get through the next winter.

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AP writers Angela Charlton in Paris, Geir Moulson in Berlin, and Nicole Winfield and Frances D’Emilio in Rome contributed.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/business/2022/06/17/russia-again-cuts-natural-gas-exports-to-european-countries/ Russia is once again restricting natural gas exports to European countries

Sarah Y. Kim

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