MOSCOW, Russia: Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled gas company, has reduced gas supplies to Europe, causing prices to rise as the region faces a week of minus degrees.
Interfax reported that gas deliveries through the Yamal pipeline, which runs through Belarus and Poland to Germany, were at their lowest level in the past month, with daily shipments falling from 27 million cubic meters on December 17 to 5.2 mcm to 4.7 mcm following day.
Gas prices in Europe rose to over $ 1,700 per thousand cubic meters, 70 percent higher than in September when the region’s politicians mentioned Russia’s possible reduction in gas supplies ahead of the winter.
With a full capacity of 89 mcm per day, the Yamal pipeline operated with only four percent capacity this week.
Russia and Gazprom have been accused of trying to pressure the European gas market to pressure European countries to sign long-term gas contracts with Gazprom, guarantee fixed-price deliveries and secure the approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Although the company increased deliveries to Europe during the second half of November and the beginning of December, prices have remained high due to low storage levels, the conflict in Ukraine and new delays in Nord Stream 2’s certification.
The Yamal pipeline is one of Gazprom’s major routes to the continent, in addition to the first Nord Stream pipeline, and transit through Ukraine. Nord Stream operates at full capacity and Russia has been reluctant to book additional capacity on the Ukrainian route in recent months.
Russia’s state news agency TASS reported, during auctions held for transit supplies in January, that Gazprom rejected an option to book extra supplies through Ukraine for the fourth month in a row and booked only 22 percent of the proposed extra supplies on the Yamal route.