Finance

Russia close to using natural gas as weapon in Europe’s gas crunch – Biden energy adviser

A basic view of the liquefied pure fuel plant operated by Sakhalin Vitality at Prigorodnoye on the Pacific island of Sakhalin, Russia July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Vladimir Soldatkin

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s international vitality safety adviser mentioned on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is getting near utilizing pure fuel as a political software if Russia is holding again gas exports to Europe because it suffers an vitality crunch.

“I feel we’re getting near that line if Russia certainly has the fuel to provide and it chooses to not, and it’ll solely accomplish that if Europe accedes to different calls for which are fully unrelated,” Amos Hochstein, Biden’s adviser, advised reporters, when requested if Putin was utilizing fuel as a weapon.

Hochstein mentioned fuel costs in Europe have been pushed increased not simply by occasions within the area but additionally by a dry season in China that has lowered vitality output from hydropower and elevated international competitors for pure fuel.

Nonetheless, whereas a number of elements have led to the European fuel disaster, Russia is finest positioned to come back to assistance from Europe, he mentioned.

“There isn’t any doubt in my thoughts, and the (Worldwide Vitality Company) has itself validated, that the one provider that may actually make a giant distinction for European vitality safety in the mean time for this winter is Russia,” Hochstein mentioned. Russia can enhance upstream manufacturing of fuel, and may do it rapidly by current pipelines, he mentioned.

Putin has rejected solutions that Moscow was squeezing provides for political motives, saying it’ll enhance movement as a lot as companions ask.

Putin has blamed report excessive costs on the EU’s vitality coverage and mentioned Russia can enhance provides to Europe as soon as its Nord Stream 2 fuel pipeline will get permitted.

Yuriy Vitrenko, the pinnacle of Ukraine’s state vitality firm Naftogaz, this month mentioned Russia was attempting to blackmail Europe into certifying its Nord Stream 2 fuel pipeline by maintaining gas provides low. The pipeline, which Washington opposes as a result of it could circumvent Ukraine, is completed however wants approvals from Germany to begin delivering Russian fuel beneath the Baltic Sea to Europe.

Approvals from Germany and the European Fee for Nord Stream 2 will seemingly take till March, so if Russia says it will possibly rapidly enhance fuel movement by Nord Stream 2, it ought to find a way to take action now by current pipelines, Hochstein mentioned.

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“You may’t have it each methods,” Hochstein mentioned

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Modifying by Mark Porter

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