By Charles Kennedy of OilPrice.com
Russian gas giant Gazprom dismissed speculation and accusations that it is not supplying enough natural gas via pipeline to Europe, a senior official at Gazprom Export said, just days after the IEA demanded Russia deliver more nat gas to a continent facing an unprecedented energy crisis.
So far in 2021, Gazprom’s gas deliveries to Europe have reached historic highs, Sergey Komlev, Head of the Contract Structuring and Pricing Directorate at Gazprom Export, wrote in an article for Gazprom’s corporate magazine, as carried by Russian news agency TASS. Germany, Turkey, and Italy—some of Gazprom’s largest customers—all boosted imports of Russian gas in the first half of 2021, the manager said.
Gazprom’s exports to European countries rose by 23.2 percent between January and July, Komlev added. “These figures prove the absurdity of accusing Gazprom of supply shortage,” the executive noted.
Europe is grappling with soaring natural gas and electricity prices ahead of the winter heating season due to tight gas supplies, very low gas inventories, and low wind power generation amid still weather.
More than 40 members of the European Parliament from all political groups have reportedly urged the European Commission to launch an investigation into Gazprom over alleged market manipulation that could have contributed to the record-high natural gas prices in Europe.
During the summer, even with the strong rebound in European natural gas demand and surging prices, Gazprom did not book additional entry capacity to Europe via Ukraine.
Analysts say that this could have been an opportunistic move from the Russian giant to drive up Europe’s gas prices further and take advantage of the very high prices. Other analysts think that Gazprom’s effective reduction in supplies would force Europe to recognize that gas customers on the continent need the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany bypassing Ukraine.
Earlier this month, Gazprom said it had completed the construction of Nord Stream 2, although gas flows on the Russia-led pipeline cannot begin until Germany grants an operating license to the project.
Germany’s federal networks regulator BNA said last week it would decide no later than January 8, 2022, whether it will certify Nord Stream 2 and issue an operating license for the pipeline.