«We see strong elements of ‘artificial tightness’ in European gas markets, which appears to be due to the behaviour of Russia’s state-controlled gas supplier»,
Birol wrote in a LinkedIn post in one of the strongest finger-pointing in recent months about who is responsible for the record-high natural gas prices in Europe and skyrocketing energy bills for households.
Unlike other pipeline suppliers to Europe - including Algeria, Azerbaijan, and Norway - Russia actually cut its exports to Europe by 25 % in the last quarter of 2021 compared to the same period of 2020, and by 22 % versus the 4th quarter of 2019, he added.
- And this is despite the exceptionally high market prices for natural gas that we have seen in recent months
- In my view, today’s situation underlines the fact that energy systems face significant risks if they rely too much on one supplier for a key element
- Today, it is natural gas; tomorrow, it could be something else, such as lithium
- This is why I’m urging governments to act now to tackle today’s energy security challenges and those of the future
Low Russian supply and cold weather have been the two main drivers of rising gas prices in Europe in recent weeks when Russia’s deliveries via Poland and Ukraine have been lower than historical norms.