Due to the gas conflict with Russia, Europe is preparing: several risks are distinguished

Transportation was suspended for three days on Wednesday Nord Stream pipeline, which is the main source of natural gas for the European Unionand there is widespread concern that Moscow will find yet another excuse to restrict supply as the region becomes more weather-dependent.

Hours before the planned outage, the company “Gazprom PJSC sparked concern when it informed French utility Engie SA that deliveries would be halted from Thursday due to disagreements over payments. The move further cuts supplies to the continent as Moscow retaliates for sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine.

“As we expected, Russia is using gas as a weapon of war,” French Energy Transformation Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said on Wednesday. “We have all the tools to deal with this situation and survive the winter.”

In the worst-case scenario, gas supply to the region would be cut off completely and the weather would cool down early. With few available alternative sources of supply, a surge in heating demand could push prices to new highs, a situation that could provoke social unrest and test Europe’s resolve to support Ukraine.

According to Gazprom, “necessary” maintenance and inspection works at the compressor station of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. It’s the latest installment in a cat-and-mouse game between the Kremlin and Europe as the gradual supply cuts add to tensions in energy markets and the economy as a whole. The work comes just weeks after an extended closure this summer and ahead of cooler autumn weather.

The Kremlin is pointing the finger at Europe, explaining that sanctions are the only obstacle to supplying gas through the Nord Stream pipeline. The status of the spare turbine, which could boost supplies, remains in limbo as Moscow and Berlin wrangle over what documents are needed to return it to Russia.

“It is guaranteed that, except for technical problems caused by sanctions, nothing prevents” the continuation of gas supplies, a Kremlin representative said on Tuesday Dmitry Peskov.

According to the operator, flows through the Nord Stream pipeline were suspended on Wednesday morning. Prices show that 30 percent of the market is visible. the probability that the supply through the main European gas connection with Russia will not be restored even at the level that has fallen sharply in recent weeks, according to Leon Izbicki, a gas analyst at the British research company “Energy Aspects Ltd.”

Germany found itself at the epicenter of this crisis. It is here that Nord Stream connects to the European gas network, and the country’s households and factories are heavily dependent on this fuel after decades of dependence on Russian energy. But now the country is better prepared to weather a new round of gas cuts, Klaus Mueller, president of Germany’s Federal Grid Agency, wrote on Twitter.

“Gas storage facilities are almost 85 percent full, and we can store gas even in winter,” he said on Wednesday.

Europe’s largest economy needs to reduce gas consumption by at least 20 percent and secure additional supplies for the upcoming heating season, K. Mueller told the Muenchner Merkur newspaper last week.

“If we can do this, we might be able to survive another winter,” he said. “And if it doesn’t work out, it can be difficult.”

Germany is rapidly filling its gas storage, but even reaching the country’s 95 percent target would cover less than three months of heating, industrial and electricity needs if Russia were to cut off supplies entirely, Mueller said. The agency he leads, the country’s energy regulator known as BNetzA, would control gas distribution if a state of emergency were declared.

European energy risks:

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