How much does the Putin factor weigh on European gas

Russia is confirmed as an important variable in the geopolitical chessboard of energy resources. Europe is dealing with the weight of Putin and his decisions for the supply of gas.

In Europe panicked by gas shortages , Putin’s words – and Russia’s resulting decisions – can make a difference.

With winter fast approaching and an extraordinary surge in energy prices hitting the old continent, the Russian president has chosen the right time to use his country’s leverage as an oil and gas superpower.

On the chaotic day of October 6, which saw the European reference gas increase by 40% in a few minutes, Putin announced a greater supply of the resource. And the prices have gone down. How important is the variable Russia for European energy ?

Energy crisis in Europe: how important is Putin’s role?

The current gas crisis in Europe is certainly not needed to know how much the energy supply of the old continent – and Italy above all – depends on Russia.

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However, in these hectic days due to the unprecedented surge in gas prices, the link with Moscow has returned to the fore. What happened yesterday, October 6, demonstrates European vulnerability and its dependence on the Russian nation.

Natural gas prices in the Europe countries rose early Wednesday 6 October to be trading nearly 10 times higher than their level since the start of the year. After hours, however, they abruptly reversed course, when Putin hinted that Gazprom would increase supplies to help Europe not sink into a very bad scenario.

The Russian president said: “we are thinking of a possible increase in supply on the market” , recalling that the state energy giant will send more gas through Ukraine than has been contracted this year.

However, Putin also pointed out that the new Russian gas pipelines under the Black and Baltic Seas, which include Nord Stream 2 , are more cost-effective and have a lower environmental impact, suggesting that there is pressure for the pipeline agreed with the Germany starts its business.

Not only that, the Russian president berated the European region for canceling many of its long-term gas contracts in exchange for spot deals, saying the Kremlin was ready to negotiate new long-term gas sales contracts. In this way, he also wanted to remove the accusations of wanting to speculate on prices by manipulating the supply of the resource.

Putin’s most reassuring words eased the uncontrolled surge in gas prices yesterday, even if they still remain at very high levels: the Dutch TTF for delivery in November, a reference in the European market, trades at € 101.22 per magawatt / hour at about 11.30.

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Europe hostage to Russia?

The USA has been arguing for some time that Europe is too and dangerously dependent on Russia on the energy issue .

The events of these days do nothing but corroborate their thesis. Gas supply to Europe has long been a thorny topic and has often soured relations between the US and the EU, with Washington berating Germany (the EU’s largest importer of Russian gas, even before the NS2 pipeline). ) for signing the gas project with Russia.

Experts see the battle over gas supply in Europe as a kind of proxy war between the United States and Russia , both vying to gain market share in the region with their supply of natural gas (Russia) and liquefied natural gas (United States). United).

Analysts agree that Europe must diversify its energy sources , precisely because of a security issue. Meanwhile, the EU is discussing the possibility of common storage, in a scenario of geopolitical relations that is becoming increasingly complex and crucial.

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