Since the start of the Russian invasion of the Ukrainian lands, a war broke out between Russia and Europe, whose main weapon is energy sources. Moscow began its steps to reduce the supply of gas to European countries, until Europe began to respond and set a ceiling for Russian gas prices.
For years, the European Union has been one of the most important customers of Russian gas. In 2020, Russia supplied the European Union with an estimated 25 percent of the oil and 40 percent of the gas consumed by the Union during that year, according to Eurostat statistics agency.
Russia apparently waited for the winter to declare victory over Europe, but the latter prepared the equipment, filled the reserve tanks, and took many measures, which enabled it not to surrender to Putin, who used gas as a weapon in the war, so did the latter lose the winter war?
Europe got rid of dependence on Russian gas?
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said that the European Union has completely eliminated dependence on energy from Russia, after the return of gas prices to normal levels before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Borrell indicated in statements to the Spanish newspaper El Diario, which was reported by Asharq Al-Awsat, that Europe went through a very tense period of high energy prices, but it got rid of its dependence on Russia within months.
Despite this return to prices, and the series of declines in oil prices and energy sources over the past few months, the energy markets are still witnessing tensions and fluctuations, which Borrell attributed to a “structural energy problem” far from the situation in Ukraine, expressing his hope that That the European Commission submit a proposal to rectify the situation soon.
Far from supplying Russian gas directly to Europe, the war has been able to deal several blows to Russia since the start of the energy war. Western sanctions led by the United States of America had great effects on the Russian economy, which relies on exporting oil as a primary resource for the government treasury.
For his part, Nihad Ismail, an expert in energy economics, said that Europe has not completely eliminated dependence on Russian gas to meet its energy needs, pointing out that the measures taken by Europe recently helped it a lot in confronting Russia and overcoming the energy crisis.
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Ismail said in an exclusive interview with Al-Hal Net, “Europe has not completely eliminated its dependence on Russian gas. Ten percent still reaches some members of the European Union from Russian pipelines through Turkey, and a smaller percentage through deals with intermediary companies. Officially, Russian gas has been stopped from the Yamal pipeline and the Nord Stream line.
Actions helped Europe
With the imminent advent of spring, a decrease in consumption, an increase in storage rates in reserve reservoirs, in addition to Europe’s success in finding some alternative sources of gas, this enabled European countries to achieve the goal of reducing dependence on Russian gas, in addition to the decrease in the prices of energy sources.
On this, Ismail added, “In short, the economy in consumption, the existence of alternatives and the rise in stocks, helped Europe to overcome the Russian gas cutoff, but imposing a ceiling on the price of gas by the Group of Seven and the European Union will create turmoil and complications in the market.”
Within the framework of their confrontation with the gas shortage crisis after the decrease in Russian supplies, European countries increased their imports of US liquefied natural gas, and US LNG exports increased by about 12 percent during the first eight months of 2022 to about 74 billion cubic meters.
A report by the Center for Global Energy Policy at Columbia University indicated that the energy crisis in Europe contributed to a rapid increase in US gas exports, as US energy companies earned about $35 billion from exporting gas to Europe. American companies also achieved export volumes close to their maximum capacity of more than 130 billion cubic meters on an annual basis in the fifth and sixth months of last year.-
However, the distance between America and Europe will impose very high costs on the operations of the arrival of American gas to European countries, and after the entry of liquefied gas to European stations and its exit in a gaseous form, the bill will become very heavy on industrial facilities and individuals in homes, and this is one of the most prominent difficulties in transforming Europe’s dependence on liquefied gas.--
One of the features of Europe’s efforts to overcome dependence on Russian gas is infrastructure development projects and the construction of power stations that allow it to import liquefied gas through sea vessels and convert it into its gaseous form and pump it through local networks.
Germany, Belgium and many European countries have announced during the past months that they are in the process of building three gas liquefaction stations, in addition to two gas hydrogen production stations, which will allow them to import liquefied gas on a larger scale.
Europe also sought, during the past year, to search for new producers to receive gas through pipelines, or even through marine carriers, so America was at the forefront of countries that began transporting gas to Europe, in addition to the continuous European efforts to increase the volume of natural gas from North African countries, in particular Algeria.
consequences of the energy war
Returning to the results of the energy war, in addition to the measures taken by Europe to overcome the energy crisis, this war has led to heavy losses in the Russian economy, which has not escaped significant negative consequences that will continue during the current year, despite the rise in oil prices at times.
The governments of the member states of the European Union had agreed a few weeks ago, on a maximum price for Russian oil transported by sea of $60 a barrel, with an adjustment mechanism to keep the price ceiling five percent below the market price.
This agreement comes as part of the West’s attempt to pressure the Kremlin’s oil revenues while maintaining stable global supplies and avoiding an increase in prices. This limit was designed as a way to allow Russia, the world’s largest oil exporter, to supply markets, without Moscow getting the full benefit from Sell them oil.
An estimated deficit of 147 billion dollars in the Russian budget, according to Moscow’s announcement at the beginning of this year, as a result of the decline in oil exports in Russia, in addition to the economic sanctions imposed by Europe and the United States of America, which made the Russian economy in the midst of the storm.
Also, in an effort to reduce the “Russian war financing fund”, the West froze 300 billion euros from the cash reserves of the Russian “Central Bank”, and to deprive Russia of Russian technologies and goods, the West banned the export of almost all types of technology, as well as sales of expensive goods and services. to Moscow.
The International Monetary Fund predicted that the Russian economy would contract by between 3 to 5 percent during the years 2022 and 2023, which is more than the fund’s predictions before the war broke out of a contraction of 2 to 3 percent.
Until now, experts cannot say that Europe has completely overcome the crisis, as it still faces many challenges, especially since the rise in energy prices during the past year contributed to the rise in inflation rates to record levels, which the member states of the European Union have not reached for several years. Which increased social unrest in some countries.
Russia is the one that started the energy war, but whatever the fruits it reaped from using energy sources as a weapon in war, the majority of experts assert that it is difficult for Russia to continue this as a long-term strategy, and therefore Putin fell into the trap of energy war and blacklisted his country. Globalism.