Natural gas flows from Russia to Europe continued to dive on Friday, with buyers in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Slovakia receiving much lower volumes than usual.
Gas flows to France from Germany have ceased completely.
The cut in Russian gas deliveries to European customers, which have agreed to the ruble-to-gas scheme Putin has demanded, is explained by Moscow with Siemens Energy delaying the return of a repaired gas turbine from Canada because of the sanctions on Russia. European leaders, however, say that Russia’s official explanation is a lie and the lower deliveries were a political move from the Kremlin.
This week, Russia reduced supply to its biggest customers in Europe, Germany and Italy, each of which were sourcing around 40 percent of their gas from Russia before the invasion of Ukraine. Also this week, the leaders of Germany, Italy, and France visited Kyiv and met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a show of support of the EU to Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Russia’s Gazprom said it would limit gas supply via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany by 40 percent compared to planned flows because of a delay in equipment repairs. On Wednesday, Gazprom said the cuts would deepen to 60% of the daily throughput. Related: Why Are China’s Fuel Refinery Rates So Low?
On Friday, Italy flagged additional cuts to deliveries, with Eni saying it would receive just half of the volumes requested for the day. Earlier this week, Russian supply to Italy was cut by 15%.
Slovakia also said it was getting less than half of the typical Russian gas volumes via Nord Stream on Friday. France, for its part, said it hadn’t received gas from Germany since Wednesday.
Commenting on the lower supply from Russia, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Thursday that the Russian “technical reasons” for reduced deliveries were “lies.”
“Germany, we, and others believe that these explanations are lies and that gas is being used as a political tool, just like grain is,” Draghi said.
The Russian cuts in supply come as Europe is looking to refill its gas storage and avoid a winter of rationing for industries. Europe’s gas prices have jumped by over 50% in one week following the outage of the Freeport LNG export terminal in the U.S. and the significantly reduced Russian gas supply to major consumers in Europe.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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