How Putin despatched EU power costs rocketing – POLITICO


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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brought on many of the EU to get up to the risk of relying at the Kremlin for its herbal fuel.

However transferring clear of Russian fuel, which ultimate yr accounted for 40 % of EU call for, is a painful procedure — and Russian President Vladimir Putin is not pulling any punches.

Even earlier than the invasion of Ukraine, his state-backed export monopoly Gazprom slowly started promoting much less herbal fuel to Ecu patrons, draining garage and slowing pipeline flows to a trickle.

The ones provide adjustments — coupled with Putin’s bombastic statements, false guarantees and periodic jokes at Brussels’ expense — brought about power costs to spike, plunge, get well and dip once more, as nervous buyers attempted to expect how a lot fuel they may rely on come wintry weather.

Here is a take a look at how Russian power video games — and reactions to them within the West — made EU markets pass haywire.

Past due 2021: Run-up to the Ukrainian invasion

In line with the Ecu Fee’s legitimate fuel marketplace stories, in 2021 Gazprom equipped 137 billion cubic meters (bcm) of fuel by way of pipeline to EU international locations. That is 7 % extra than in 2020, which used to be a yr of strangely low call for because of lockdowns — however represents a 16 % drop in deliveries in comparison to 2019, the ultimate commonplace yr pre-COVID. A lot of that decrease 2021 provide used to be because of a serious pullback from October to December, when Gazprom despatched 24 % much less to the EU than in the similar duration in 2020. The uncertainty forward of wintry weather brought about never-before-seen worth spikes on EU fuel buying and selling markets, going from not up to €15 according to megawatt-hour (MWh) in January to a year-end report of €180/MWh.

AUGUST 6: Gazprom dramatically reduces fuel flows throughout the Yamal pipeline — which runs via Belarus and Poland — bringing up a fireplace at a fuel processing facility in western Siberia. Gazprom as an alternative starts taking flight fuel held in underground garage within the EU to fulfill contractual deliveries to shoppers, exacerbating an already-existing downside of low garage ranges.

AUGUST 16: Gazprom simplest books 4 % of to be had fuel transit capability presented by way of Ukraine for September, inflicting fuel costs to spike in anticipation of the decrease flows.

SEPTEMBER 10: Gazprom’s Russia-to-Germany Nord Circulate 2 pipeline is absolutely constructed, ready just for certification from German regulators to start out running.

OCTOBER 1: Gazprom stops sending fuel via Ukraine to Hungary, as Moscow and Budapest signal 15-year contracts to ship provides by way of Russia’s TurkStream pipeline as an alternative.

OCTOBER 5: Putin blames the “hysteria and confusion” in Ecu power markets on “ill-balanced choices” like local weather exchange and effort transition coverage. EU fuel costs spike to a report €165 according to megawatt-hour.

OCTOBER 6: Fuel costs fall when, an afternoon later, Putin says: “Expanding fuel provides … can and will have to be executed.” He additionally calls for fast German approval of Nord Circulate 2.

OCTOBER 8: The Romanian Power Providers Affiliation warns that its contributors’ requests for added fuel provides for wintry weather are being refused by way of Gazprom.

OCTOBER 13: Gazprom sells so-called spot volumes of fuel to the Ecu marketplace — that means gross sales at open public sale out of doors of multi-year provide contracts — for the ultimate time. Since then, simplest long-term shoppers were ready to obtain pre-agreed deliveries by way of pipeline, resulting in a decline within the quantity of Russian fuel piped to Europe.

OCTOBER 15: Ukraine’s fuel grid operator warns Gazprom is simplest sending a fragment of the booked quantity of fuel via Ukraine.

OCTOBER 19: Poland warns EU pageant officers that Gazprom is “restricting flows via routes rather then Nord Circulate 1” and asks for an investigation into Gazprom for marketplace manipulation.

OCTOBER 21: Putin ridicules the Ecu Fee for discouraging long-term fuel provide contracts in desire of spot trades, and provides he can ship the EU the additional fuel it wishes if regulators would simplest approve Nord Circulate 2.

OCTOBER 26: The EU pronounces it’s collecting proof for a contest probe to peer if excessive fuel costs are due to manipulation by way of primary providers like Gazprom.

OCTOBER 28: Putin orders Gazprom to start out filling its abnormally low underground garage within the EU forward of wintry weather, prompting EU fuel costs to fall under €80/MWh for the primary time in September. That garage replenishment does not finally end up taking place.

NOVEMBER 16: Germany’s infrastructure regulator says it cannot certify the Nord Circulate 2 pipeline till possession is transferred to a subsidiary in Germany.

DECEMBER 16: German regulators announce that Nord Circulate 2 would possibly not be qualified earlier than no less than summer season 2022.

DECEMBER 21: Russian fuel flows throughout the Yamal pipeline quit then hastily start flowing in opposite, sporting fuel east clear of Germany. Fuel costs hit a report excessive of €180/MWh. Ukraine’s Naftogaz responds by way of calling for a probe into imaginable marketplace manipulation by way of Gazprom. Putin as an alternative blames grasping Western buyers for reselling affordable Russian fuel won by way of contract at a large markup and parking it in tax-friendly Ukrainian garage.

2022: Invasion, sanctions and fuel shut-offs

Initial Gazprom information from January to July 2022 presentations exports to its so-called a ways in another country — that means international locations out of doors the previous Soviet Union are down about 35 % in comparison to ultimate yr. That determine takes under consideration upper deliveries to China, that means the true relief to Europe is extra serious. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Gazprom has engaged in a sequence of provide disruptions to EU-based shoppers following a mandate to settle bills in Russian foreign money, which the Ecu Fee has forbidden as a possible violation of EU monetary sanctions.

FEBRUARY 21: Putin acknowledges two separatist areas in japanese Ukraine and orders in Russian troops.

FEBRUARY 22: In reaction, Germany halts administrative certification of Nord Circulate 2.

Putin says that “Russia, for its phase, intends to proceed uninterrupted provides of this uncooked subject material, together with [liquefied natural gas], to international markets.” Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian president and deputy chair of Russia’s safety council, tweets: “Welcome to the courageous new international the place Europeans are very quickly going to pay €2,000 for 1,000 cubic meters of herbal fuel!”

FEBRUARY 24: Russia launches a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Brent crude, the worldwide oil benchmark, exceeds $100 a barrel for the primary time since 2014. EU fuel costs hit €128/MWh.

MARCH 2: U.S. oil and fuel primary Exxon pronounces it’ll halt new funding in Russia and pull out of a significant fuel challenge, Sakhalin 1. Fuel costs hit €157/MWh.

MARCH 7: Leaked paperwork from the Ecu Fee display a proposal to cut back EU reliance on Russian fuel by way of two-thirds, significantly throughout the obligatory filling of EU underground fuel garage ranges to 80 % by way of October. Costs for in most cases affordable summer season fuel in brief hit €345/MWh.

APRIL 26: Gazprom halts shipments to Poland and Bulgaria over a refusal to pay in rubles.

APRIL 27: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov warns any shopper refusing to pay for fuel the usage of a ruble-denominated checking account dangers seeing provides bring to an end.

MAY 11: Ukraine pronounces unauthorized fuel withdrawals from a pipeline passing via “territories beneath Russian army career” and warns Gazprom to make use of some other direction. Since then, Russia merely sends much less fuel via Ukraine.

MAY 16: Russia halts electrical energy deliveries to Finland, in a transfer broadly perceived as a response to Finland’s utility for NATO club on Would possibly 12.

MAY 21: Gazprom stops deliveries to Finland’s Gasum.

MAY 31: Gazprom “utterly suspends fuel provides” to Dutch corporate GasTerra “because of failure to pay in rubles.”

JUNE 1: Gazprom stops deliveries to Ørsted, Denmark’s greatest power corporate, “because of nonpayment in rubles.”

JUNE 15: Gazprom pronounces flows will fall to 40 % capability on Nord Circulate starting June 16.

JUNE 17: France and Italy obtain much less Russian fuel than anticipated days after French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Top Minister Mario Draghi discuss with Kyiv to strengthen Ukraine’s bid to enroll in the EU.

JULY 11: Nord Circulate is going offline for annual 10-day repairs.

JULY 18: Gazprom sends retroactive felony understand to Germany’s Uniper and different Ecu shoppers, claiming diminished fuel deliveries since June 14 are because of components past the corporate’s regulate. Italy’s Eni, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie additionally document diminished deliveries.

JULY 20: Putin dangles an opportunity to spice up fuel flows to Europe whilst Nord Circulate is underperforming: “Now we have some other direction in a position — it’s Nord Circulate 2.”

JULY 21: Nord Circulate resumes deliveries, however at 40 % capability. Putin warns flows may just dip once more because of the behind schedule go back of a fuel turbine from Canada.

JULY 27: Deliveries by way of Nord Circulate drop to twenty % capability. Putin blames the loss of a Siemens turbine had to push extra fuel throughout the line, however Kyiv issues out that Moscow continues to be paying for transit area via Ukraine and no longer the usage of it.

JULY 30: Gazprom stops supplying fuel to Latvia “because of violation of the stipulations for fuel withdrawal,” after information that Latvian power company Latvijas Gaze discovered another provider of Russian fuel which didn’t require fee in rubles.

AUGUST 3: Gazprom says EU, U.S. and U.Okay. sanctions in opposition to Moscow are “making it not possible to deliver” the Siemens fuel turbine again to Russia to spice up flows via Nord Circulate. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz counters that “not anything stands in the way in which of additional shipping.”

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder says he met with Putin in Russia to speak about the potential of a peace handle Ukraine — concurrently urging Berlin to restart certification of Nord Circulate 2. “The excellent news is that the Kremlin needs a negotiated agreement,” he says. “[But] in the event you don’t wish to use Nord Circulate 2, you need to undergo the results. And they’re going to be massive in Germany.”

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