On Wednesday, 6 October, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was prepared to negotiate with the majority state-backed natural gas company and exporter, Gazprom, to increase supplies to Europe to avoid an energy crisis in the continent, the Financial Times reported.
Energy prices worldwide are surging and these prices, if not curtailed, threaten industrial production and activity and are also likely to cause massive inflation.
The problem is that while Gazprom is supplying gas to European energy companies in quantities that have been fixed in long-term contracts, it is accused of not responding to the increased demand for gas by offering additional quantities that go beyond the contracts.
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Norway, Europe’s other important supplier of gas, has increased its production to meet the rising demands, “but this does not seem to be the case in Russia,” the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
However, Putin said Gazprom had exceeded its gas supplies through Ukraine with respect to its contractual duties and that there needed to be a careful increase in supply.
He emphasised the need to “settle with Gazprom and talk it over” because the “speculative craze doesn’t do us any good,” The Financial Times reported.
Russia is accused of limiting gas supplies to Europe and using the ricing prices as leverage for its controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine and directly supplies gas to Germany.
Nord Stream 2 is still awaiting Germany’s approval.
(With inputs from The Financial Times and Reuters.)
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