In the current energy crisis, which could worsen with the arrival of winter where the demand will increase a lot especially for gas, a non-negligible component is to be found in the attempts to hit Russia.
A clumsy and failed attempt. In fact, precisely because of the increase in oil and gas prices in 2021, Russia could make 40 billion dollars more than expected: “According to the Fitch agency, in 2021 budget revenues from oil and gas could amount to about 125 billion dollars, 50 billion dollars more than in 2020 and about 40 billion dollars more than it would have been if macroeconomic parameters had been in line with our expectations for this year”.
But is Russia really responsible for rising prices?
According to former German Chancellor Schroeder the rises are not to blame for Russia’s attitude. According to the German politician Moscow as well as the old Soviet Union are reliable partners. “For more than 50 years, Russia, like the former Soviet Union, has been a reliable supplier, even during the Cold War.”
In an article in Handelsblatt, the former German chancellor noted that although gas prices for end consumers have risen less than for other fossil energy sources, it was the rise in gas prices that caused the most contentious discussions, and some media outlets began blaming Russia.
But serious studies “say that the reasons for the price increase must be sought in the international gas market: increased demand, global trends in the world market, and weather conditions,” Schroeder writes.
In Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Great Britain, i.e., the largest European economies, gas demand in the first half of this year increased by 12 percent. Thus, the former chancellor recalled that the economies of European countries began to recover from the recession due to the blockades in 2020, and this circumstance combined with the prolonged cold winter last year led to the fact that the filling of gas storage facilities this year began a month later than usual.
According to Schroeder, additional supplies could come from Norway and Russia, but Europe would not have to rely on liquefied gas from the United States: this is destined for Asia.
In the period from January to August, China purchased 22% more liquefied natural gas (LNG) than in the previous year, while Europe, in contrast, purchased 17% less LNG.
“Interestingly, the U.S. quadrupled its LNG supplies to China during this period. On the one hand, the U.S. is demanding that Europe reduce trade with China and, on the other hand, is taking every opportunity to profitably sell gas not to Europe, but to China. The economic recovery in Asia and the associated growth in demand are key factors for high prices in the global market,” Schroeder writes.
At the same time, Russia, by contrast, is increasing supplies to Europe. “For more than 50 years, Russia, like the former Soviet Union, has been a reliable supplier, even during the Cold War.”
Schroeder expresses the opinion that the gas market situation will stabilize in the coming months, thanks in part to supplies from Russia and Norway, and the gradual filling of gas storage facilities.
A game, that of gas, with great geopolitical and geoeconomic interests. As the Ukrainian case testifies. On the one hand, Kiev is acting as the West’s spearhead against Russia, but at the same time it is asking Moscow to continue transiting its direct gas to Europe through Ukraine because the country cannot do without the revenue from Moscow’s gas transit.
“It is very important for us to preserve the transit of gas that goes through our territory, because nobody wants to lose $2 billion legitimate (this is how much Russia pays Ukraine for transit),” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Ukrainian edition of Business.Censor.