3 charts show Europe’s unprecedented natural gas crisis

Europe is going through an unprecedented gas crisis.

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Europe is going through an unprecedented vitality crisis that is pushing the financial system nearer to a recession and posing severe questions concerning the area’s local weather change ambitions.

CNBC takes a take a look at how Russia, led by President Vladimir Putin, is squeezing gas provides to Europe and what this implies for the longer term.

Russia cuts provides

Russia has considerably diminished flows of natural gas to Europe since Western nations imposed powerful sanctions on the Kremlin following its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Moscow denies it’s utilizing gas as a weapon, however Europeans complain that Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned vitality firm, is now not a dependable supplier. Reduced gas provides from Russia are an issue for EU nations given it used to import about 40% of its gas shares from the nation.

Data from Nord Stream, the operator accountable for a pipeline (Nord Stream 1) that hyperlinks Russia to Germany, confirms that there is fewer gas volumes heading West.

Last week alone, provides by way of Nord Stream 1 had been diminished to twenty% from 40% with Gazprom citing upkeep points

Germany’s financial system minister, Robert Habeck, mentioned Gazprom’s technical excuse was a “farce.” Supplies had been briefly halted earlier than the most recent discount, with upkeep works being accomplished between July 11 and July 21.

According to the European Commission, the EU’s government arm, 12 members states are already affected by the diminished gas flows and a handful of others have been fully minimize off.

Top EU officers say Russia is “blackmailing” Europe and “weaponizing” its gas provides. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations.

“We have to be ready, there might be full disruption in near [the] future, and that means that we need to have a plan in place,” Kadri Simson, Europe’s vitality commissioner, instructed CNBC final week.

European leaders are involved a couple of full shutdown in provides, significantly as a result of many industries use the commodity as a uncooked materials of their manufacturing course of.

In this context, there have been efforts to hunt various suppliers and totally different sources of vitality. However, this transition is a troublesome activity that is unimaginable to be completed in a brief timeframe.

The fee has requested EU nations to have a minimal storage goal of 80% by November. In June, gas filling ranges had been simply over 56%, in line with the identical establishment.

Natural gas costs soar

Natural gas costs have risen dramatically within the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and even beforehand when Russia began to tighten flows.

There’s renewed worth pressures each time Russia decreases its provides to Europe given how vital the commodity is for a number of sectors and given the shortage of alternate options to Russian fossil fuels.

Salomon Fiedler, an economist at Berenberg, famous that natural gas costs in Europe are “exorbitantly more expensive” now in contrast with the 2015-2019 worth common.

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“In a normal year, the EU may use around 4.3 billion megawatt per hour (MWh) worth of natural gas. Thus, if prices are higher by €100 per MWh for one year and the EU had to pay these prices instead of benefitting from some long-term fixed-price contracts, costs would increase by about €430 billion ($437 billion) – equivalent to 3% of the EU’s 2021 GDP,” he mentioned.

Higher costs then naturally trickle right down to the vitality payments of corporations and people throughout the bloc.

“European benchmark natural gas prices at the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) shot up by 15% to almost EUR 200 per megawatt-hour as utilities bid for alternative supplies, raising concerns that consumers and industry will struggle to pay their energy bills and that there will be a winter recession,” analysts on the Eurasia Group consultancy mentioned in a analysis word Tuesday.

Growth expectations shattered

With provides diminished and costs greater, the gas crisis is shaking Europe’s financial prospects.

The newest development studying for the euro zone, out Friday, confirmed GDP at 0.7% within the second quarter — above market expectations. But increasingly economists are pricing in a recession for 2023.

The European Commission mentioned earlier this month that the financial system would develop 2.7% this yr and 1.5% subsequent yr. However, the establishment additionally mentioned {that a} full shutdown in gas provides from Russia might convey a couple of recession later in 2022.

“Higher gas prices drive up firms’ costs and squeeze consumers’ budgets, leaving them less money to spend on other goods and services. As a result, we expect the euro zone to fall into recession this autumn at still high inflation,” Fiedler mentioned.

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