Moscow’s current supply cuts are “focused on avoiding Europe filling up stocks”, says the IEA chief
The International Energy Agency (IEA) chief Fatih Birol has warned Europe to be prepared for the possibility of a complete shutdown of Russian gas exports this winter, and calls on EU governments to broaden the range of measures aimed at preparing for this scenario, Financial reported. Times on Wednesday.
“Europe should be ready if Russian gas were to be shut down completely. The closer we get to winter, the more we understand Russia’s intentions. “ he said, according to the news agency.
In a comment that Gazprom reduced 60% of the gas supply via the Nord Stream pipeline last week, which the Russian company emphasizes is purely technical, Birol said that “The cuts are aimed at avoiding Europe filling up stocks and increasing Russia’s leverage during the winter months.“
However, the IEA has openly accused Russia of manipulating gas prices since last year, when gas costs in Europe peaked at record levels.
“Emergency measures taken by European countries this week to reduce gas demand, such as burning old coal-fired power plants, were justified by the scale of the crisis, despite concerns about rising CO2 emissions“, he said, adding that in his opinion, the return to coal-fired energy production will be”temporary“and help maintain a sufficient supply of gas for the coming heating season.
Germany, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands announced their plans to intensify the use of coal for electricity production, while Sweden and Denmark said they would also launch emergency measures to curb the use of natural gas.
However, Birol warned that current measures would not go far enough if Russian gas exports ceased altogether and suggested that European governments increase efforts to fill storage facilities, among other options.
“I believe that there will be more and deeper demand measures [taken by governments in Europe] as winter approaches,“said Birol. He noted that gas rationing is a possibility, which can help compensate for the consequences of losing Russian gas and offered the bloc to”consider postponing closures [of nuclear power plants] as long as the security conditions exist. “
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