Russia is utilizing fuel as ‘weapon of struggle,’ says French ecology minister

Russia is utilizing power provides as a “weapon of struggle”, France mentioned on Tuesday after Russia’s Gazprom reduce deliveries to a serious buyer within the nation, and mentioned it could shut its primary fuel pipeline to Germany for 3 days this week.

Western nations worry that Moscow is intentionally driving up fuel costs to attempt to weaken their opposition to its invasion of Ukraine, a tactic Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday dubbed “financial terrorism”. 

“Very clearly Russia is utilizing fuel as a weapon of struggle and we should put together for the worst case situation of a whole interruption of provides,” France’s Vitality Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher mentioned.

She was talking to France Inter radio after French utility Engie mentioned it could obtain much less fuel from Gazprom from Tuesday due to an unspecified contractual dispute.

Nord Stream 1, the primary conduit for Russian fuel into Europe, has grow to be a flash level within the dispute. Europe faces an extra squeeze on provides this week as Gazprom shuts off the pipeline for upkeep from Wednesday until the early hours of Saturday.

Russia has been pumping fuel by way of Nord Stream 1 at solely 20% of capability and there are fears that this week’s outage might be prolonged.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned on Tuesday technological issues brought on by Western sanctions on Russia are the one factor standing in the best way of supplying fuel by way of Nord Stream 1.

European governments try to coordinate a response to hovering power prices for companies and households and to fill storage amenities forward of peak demand within the winter.

‘Costs are insane’

EU power ministers will maintain an emergency assembly on 9 September to debate the disaster.

Germany, Europe’s largest financial system, is open to discussing a price-cap scheme on fuel provides at a European stage, a supply in Italy informed Reuters, citing a textual content message Germany’s financial system minister despatched to his colleagues throughout the bloc.

The supply mentioned Robert Habeck despatched a message to EU power ministers flagging that Berlin was open to debate the value cap at subsequent week’s assembly.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has been pushing for a worth cap, and has additionally known as for steps to decouple the price of electrical energy from the fuel worth. Such a transfer would permit European households to get the advantages from electrical energy produced from cheaper sources comparable to renewables.

The chief government of German power agency Wintershall Dea mentioned on Tuesday that present worth ranges meant demand for fuel would fall in the long run.

“The costs we’re having at present are insane. That’s nothing even a fuel producer is searching for as a result of in the long run, we’re going to massively destroy demand for our product,” Mario Mehren informed reporters on the sidelines of a convention in Norway.

Benchmark Dutch wholesale fuel costs rose on Tuesday afternoon after an preliminary retreat. The front-month fuel contract was up 1.5% at €271/MWh, off all-time highs hit final week however nonetheless buying and selling at ranges greater than 5 instances these seen a 12 months in the past.

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