Accelerating the end of Europe’s Russian gas habit

For those who questioned its credibility as an energy supplier, Russia has always had a ready response. Yes, it cut off natural gas – twice – to Ukraine during payment disputes. But it never interrupted suppliers to a European customer, even in the most tense moments of the Cold War. By Suspension of gas to Poland and Bulgaria This week, as its war in Ukraine entered its third month, Moscow crossed the Rubicon. Additional countries may be cut off within weeks if they too reject Russia’s new demand to pay in rubles. Either way, the consequences are clear: Europe must drastically accelerate efforts to end its dependence on Russian gas.

This week’s cuts are more complex than pure “Weapons” of energy By Moscow. Western sanctions on its central bank have complicated Russia’s ability to use its hard currency revenues from energy exports entirely of its choice. President Vladimir Putin’s order to convert buyers’ euros into rubles in a system of parallel accounts at Gazprombank is an attempt to weaken the determination behind these constraints.

Poland and Bulgaria refused to use this system, and called it Unworkable And breach of contract. Some shoppers elsewhere, including big consumers like Germany and Italy, have indicated they may obey them – but EU officials say it could Violate sanctions.

Putin succeeds in preferred pursuit – Sowing distribution Between EU countries – but a version of what is left of Russia’s reputation as a supplier. Moscow has shown it is willing to disconnect European customers, even those who are actively trying to pay their bills. Any illusion that Russia’s energy flow could be hampered in any way from its attack on Ukraine, and the sanctions that go with it, has evaporated. In reality, Russia began “kissing” gas even before the war – refusing to ship additional quantities through its export pipelines during the extortion of supplies in the fall, raising prices and depleting European storage.

The cessation of Russia’s gas supply is not only to suppress Moscow’s ability to finance its war, but to ensure that Europe is not saved as a ransom for energy in the future. Doing so will incur a heavy cost. But there is a price – which, unlike Ukraine, the rest of Europe does not pay on the battlefield – for the protection of liberal democracy, and the freedoms and prosperity it has brought.

Replacement pipeline and liquefied natural gas from Norway, USA, Qatar and elsewhere can partially compensate for lost Russian gas. Destructive competition between EU countries for scarce supply by Gas sharing agreements And a joint acquisition, which in Brussels is already under consideration. Studies have suggested Much of what is left is missing Can be invented Through measures to increase energy efficiency, accelerate the launch of renewable energy, delay the cessation of Germany’s nuclear energy, and – quite temporarily – increase coal and oil production.

Governments must formulate plans to uphold the poor and vulnerable. They also need to start now to prepare the public for shortages and price jumps – and to explain the need. Europeans who have shown great hospitality to Ukrainian refugees may be open to the need to “lower the thermostat to help Ukraine.”

With all the short-term disruptions in Europe, the big loser in the long run – especially as EU countries also move towards restricting Russian oil imports – will be Moscow. In his early years as president, Putin began to turn Russia into an “energetic superpower.” It is now sacrificing economic interests for the sake of its overarching goal of returning Russia to a great geopolitical power. By first appeal, however, he will eventually find it difficult to fund the latter.

Accelerating the end of Europe’s Russian gas habit Source link Accelerating the end of Europe’s Russian gas habit

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