Russia has issued a warning that until sanctions are lifted, it will not resume gas supplies along a vital pipeline to Europe. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline was closed for three days for maintenance, and Moscow has blamed Western nations for its decision not to reopen it.
If sanctions were lifted, supplies would undoubtedly start flowing again, a Kremlin spokesman responded when asked. On Monday, gas prices increased as worries about the energy supply increased.
The European benchmark Dutch month-ahead wholesale gas price increased as much as 30 per cent in early trading on Monday. Price increases in the UK reached a maximum of 35 per cent before falling to £4.50 per therm.
The past few weeks have seen a lot of volatility in wholesale prices. When Germany revealed that its gas storage facilities were filling up more quickly than anticipated, they fell sharply the previous week. Due to the conflict in Ukraine, Europe has accused Russia of using gas supplies as leverage to extort money from European nations.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, stated on Monday that the sanctions Western nations like Germany and the UK had placed on our nation and a number of companies were to blame for the pumping issues.
“There are no other reasons that would lead to problems with pumping.”
The closure of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline was attributed last week by the state-owned energy company Gazprom to an oil leak in a turbine on the pipeline.
However, the European Union and Siemens, the German company that looks after the turbine, have disputed this.
“Such leaks do not normally affect the operation of a turbine and can be sealed on site. It is a routine procedure within the scope of maintenance work,” Siemens said in a previous statement.
The Kremlin’s decision to limit supplies to Europe has increased the cost of wholesale gas even though the UK is not dependent on Nord Stream 1 for its gas.
The spike in the price cap on energy bills for consumers in England, Wales, and Scotland is the result of the overall increase.
Peskov criticised European leaders for the surge in bills: “It is obvious that Europe is getting worse for people, entrepreneurs, companies, to live and work: less money is being earned, the standard of living is falling,” he said.
After taking office on Tuesday, Liz Truss, who will succeed David Cameron as prime minister of the UK, has promised to unveil a strategy to reduce excessive energy costs.
The British Chambers of Commerce warned last week that businesses would “close their doors this winter” if they were not supported with skyrocketing costs. However, UK businesses are not protected by a price cap.
The “crunch moment,” according to energy expert Bill Farren-Price, would occur later in the year if gas demand is particularly high and will exceed what can be imported.
The new prime minister’s top priority, he continued, would be to take action to reduce energy costs.
Several European governments have unveiled plans to assist consumers and businesses in coping with rising energy costs. Germany announced a €65 billion package on Sunday that includes one-time payments to the most vulnerable people and tax breaks for businesses that use a lot of energy.
Over the weekend, multibillion-pound support packages for energy companies were also announced by Sweden and Finland.
Other European ministers have charged Russia with using energy supplies as a tool to harm those who support Ukraine economically. Moscow has denied that it is purposefully limiting exports as winter approaches.
(Adapted from FoxBusiness.com)