Europe ‘prepared to react’ to halted Russian gas provides, official says

The European Union is “ready to react” to Russia’s resolution to halt gas provides to the bloc, a prime EU official informed CNBC on Saturday.

Russia’s state-owned power large Gazprom on Friday introduced an indefinite halt to gas flows to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, citing the necessity for extra repairs.

The transfer got here after provides had already been halted final week for a deliberate “maintenance outage” that was anticipated to final till Sept. 3.

“We expect that Russia is respecting the contracts that they have but even if the weaponization of energy will continue or will increase in response to our decisions, I think that the Euoprean Union is ready to react,” mentioned Paolo Gentiloni, the EU’s economics commissioner.

“Of course, we have to save energy, we have to share energy, we have [a] high level of storage and we are not afraid of Putin’s decisions,” Gentiloni informed CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick on the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy.

“We asked Putin to respect their contracts but if they don’t respect their contracts then we are ready to react,” he mentioned, with out detailing precisely what actions this might entail.

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles throughout a joint press convention with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni following their assembly on the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia, May 17, 2017.

Yuri Kadobnov | Reuters

Gazprom mentioned on the Telegram messaging app that inspectors discovered an oil leak within the pipeline.

“Gas transportation to the Nord Stream gas pipeline has been completely stopped until the issues on the operation of the equipment are eliminated,” the power firm mentioned.

The halt to provides comes after a summer season of unstable relations between Russia and the EU because the struggle in Ukraine continues, with Russia accused of “weaponizing” gas provides to its European neighbors in a bid to stress the bloc for sanctions reduction. Russia denies utilizing power as a weapon.

Gazprom has repeatedly mentioned that sanctions are stopping it from sustaining and operating the pipeline effectively and had already diminished gas flows by way of the pipeline to round 20% of its full capability.

Gazprom’s resolution got here hours after the Group of Seven financial powers agreed on a plan to impose a worth cap on Russian oil in an try to curb Moscow’s oil revenues.

A halt to all Russian gas provides places the EU in a decent spot because it heads into the autumn and winter.

Since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the EU has appeared to cut back and part out its imports of Russian gas. However, whereas it scrambles for different provides, it stays considerably depending on these provides.

The bloc has already referred to as on all members to voluntarily cut back their respective gas consumption by 15% within the fall and thru the winter months in a bid to eke out provides.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, additionally talking to CNBC on the Ambrosetti Forum, mentioned whereas the anticipated power shortages this coming winter had been “very inconvenient for Europe” it could not be “the first time that Europeans had to suffer for their freedom.”

“Here’s what I would say to my European friends: We will work with you to find alternatives to Russian gas and the sooner we can arrive to that destination the safer the world would be and more stable Europe would be,” he mentioned.

“The biggest blow to Putin’s war machine would be energy independence by Europe. The day you achieve that he becomes a shell of his former self.”


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