Gazprom increases supply to the EU but Belarus cuts it

RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - In Brief 17 Nov 2021 by Alex Teddy

On November 16 the Russian gas major declined to book extra pipeline capacity for December. That is the third consecutive month that Gazprom has done this. The EU says that Moscow is manipulating scarcity to drive up the price. There is an argument that Russia would like to take advantage of high prices while it can sell a little more, but not so much that it drives down the price.

Gas prices in the EU leapt 10% on the news that Gazprom will not be using extra capacity. Spot prices for gas are five times higher than in November 2020. The dearth of energy in the EU seems to bolster the case for Nord Stream 2. It also bolsters the case for renewable energy and energy independence.

Brussels suspects that Russia is squeezing energy supply in a bid to pressure the EU to authorize Nord Stream 2 asap. Moscow denies this and is asking the EU to sign long-term gas supply deals which will be mutually beneficial.

Russia sends gas via two pipelines: one through Belarus and another through Ukraine to the EU. Russia would really like to stop sending it via Ukraine because this would then deprive Ukraine of USD 2 billion per annum in transit fees. Ukraine is Europe's poorest nation, and that is a very significant sum for the country.

The Belarus and Ukraine pipeline together comprise 75% of Gazprom supplies to the EU. There is also Nord Stream, which is the extant undersea pipeline that makes up the other 25%. It is being used at full capacity in 2021. Gazprom likes it as it avoids transit fees.

Gazprom has bumped up supplies to the EU in November 2021. They were 14% up from November 8-15 compared to the first week of the month. EU und...

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