Thursday, October 21, 2021

Europe faces gas crisis over Ukraine – but Europe has no plan to save itself

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BBC News

The gas crisis in Europe could come to a head this weekend and leave countries across the continent facing blackouts or frozen fuses. The International Energy Agency believes supplies of gas from Russia will fall off sharply this weekend, pushing up the prices of a few degrees at the pump. Russia is supplying nearly a quarter of Europe’s gas – a figure it could contract by up to 20% as result of the gas export ban on Ukraine. Customers have already started to prepare for the shortage, including shipping in petrol as a power supply alternative. Nick Beeching, an energy expert, says nothing can be done to stop this happening. For most people, they will pay the price of the increase in the petrol,” he said. “You don’t see a big backlash if they have had their petrol imported.” Tense negotiations “Each country within Europe, each country within Ukraine, has already taken the action necessary to arrange a temporary way of having gas going their way,” he added. The European Commission may be forced to intervene, but no-one is sure how that might work. Bulgaria’s government is adamant that Russia cannot cut off its gas without consequences – the EU is not prepared to back that position. The Commission itself is at a loss to say what it will do. It is just a month since the last gas crisis and experts are suggesting this could be the worst since the realisation of the “Balkan gas crisis” in 2005. “The last time this was a much closer call, the result could have been disastrous,” said Mr Beeching. “In the last crisis there was an incident in 2007 when there was a leak in a pipeline, but that was temporarily managed.” Mr Beeching says a bigger crisis is a big worry. “There is no clear strategy, the European Commission has no plan, what is happening at this moment is a microcosm of a bigger strategic strategic risk, which is globalising energy.”

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