Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine War, the European Union (EU) has imposed sanctions on Russia, one of the world’s largest energy exporters. In return, Moscow intends to lift sanctions by exploiting the EU’s reliance on energy resources. European countries, which are experiencing new energy developments, are looking for alternatives to Russian natural gas. In this context, explosions in Nord Stream Natural Gas Pipelines have been on the continent’s agenda.
In this context, Ankara Center for Crisis and Policy Studies (ANKASAM) presents the views of Dr. Carole Nakle, the Founder of UK-based Crystol Energy, who examines world energy markets and policies in order to evaluate Europe’s energy agenda.
- Are European states working on the assumption that there will be no Russian gas at all next year? If we consider that Russian gas is completely taken off the stage, how can you evaluate alternative resource options that Europe can turn to?
The EU has announced its determination to reduce its dependence on Russian gas to zero by 2030. That means that the train has already left the station. However, problems persist in the short term. Considering the developments in 2022, it can be said that EU countries made preparations to end these dependency relations much sooner than 2030, when they aimed to get rid of dependency on Russian natural gas. In other words, states have prepared for the worst-case scenario. This is why European nations have taken several measures from curtailing demand to rapidly filling storage and reaching out to existing and new suppliers.
- What are your thoughts on the EU’s faster-than-expected shift from reliance on Russian natural gas? Will Europe survive the winter after being dependant on Russia gas for so long?
Members’ dependency on Russian gas is unevenly distributed within the EU. The reliance on Russian energy is much greater in Eastern Europe. Therefore, the consequences of the energy crisis are felt more dramatically in these countries.
On the other hand, it is not yet known whether the winter will be warm or cold. The colder the winter is, the more painful the loss of Russian gas will be. As a result, natural gas prices will increase. As a result, governments across Europe are taking steps to protect low-income households and consumers in particular.
- After the explosions in the vicinity of the unusual Nord Stream gas leaks, Sweden’s national security service said a crime scene investigation into the gas leaks from two underwater pipelines connecting Russia to Germany “strengthened the suspicions of gross sabotage”. How can you interpret the Nord Stream sabotage and its effects on European energy security?
The sabotage has heightened the security risk around oil and gas production, processing and transportation infrastructure. This has made the already sensitive energy market even more tense. However, such infrastructure has always been the preferred target of attacks. For such references, it is possible to think of Algeria’s Amenas, Saudi Aramco’s refineries in Saudi Arabia or the cyber attack against the Colonial Pipeline in the USA. If a facility is attacked when in operation, then depending on its importance, it may affect prices. With Nord Stream I & II however, supplies were not interrupted since no gas was sent through them. When all of these are considered, the impact has been much more contained than many feared. The only issue is that the attack has raised some intriguing questions about the future of those pipelines.