The EU is scrambling to finish its dependence on Russian gas once and for all by striking deals with alternative suppliers, but its plans to scupper Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grip on energy have the potential to backfire. As a part of its REPowerEU strategy, the bloc’s plot to finally cut its energy ties with Moscow, the EU has been working to diversify its gas sources by striking deals with countries equivalent to Algeria, Azerbaijan and Qatar.
And this week, EU negotiators agreed on a measure to cap the worth of gas imports in further efforts to slash the Kremlin’s revenue. But Algeria, which last week pledged to double its gas production for exports to 100bcm in 2023 to bolster Europe’s supplies, was not a fan of the measure.
It warned that the gas cap of €180 (£156) per megawatt/hour (MWh) – which could be triggered from mid-February 2023 -risks destabilizing the energy market. On condition that the North African nation (which shouldn’t be strictly a “repressive regime”), is keen to ramp up its energy exports to Europe, Brussels will want to do its best to maintain Algiers on its side.
Responding to the cap, Algerian Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab told a press conference: “Algeria doesn’t support the thought of capping prices. The energy market should be free to proceed investments and projects.
“The event of investments will depend on transparent and non-discriminatory legal frameworks supported by clear energy, financial and environmental policies in gas-consuming and transit countries.
“We, with our partners in Germany and Europe, fully agree on providing the continent with energy, especially with gas.”
But while Algeria appears for the moment to stay committed to supplying the EU with more gas, Jacopo Casadei, gas analyst at Energy Features, has warned that its promise to double deliveries was “not feasible” as some countries would “struggle” to soak up the massive quantities it’s hoping to send to storage plants.
Nevertheless, Alergia shouldn’t be the one country the EU is popping to because it races to replenish its gas storage sites amid fears that Russia, which supplied 40 percent of the bloc’s gas before the Ukraine war, will cut off remaining flows.
The bloc has also turned to Qatar, a significant producer, to assist replenish these reserves. But as tensions soar amid the foremost corruption scandal that has come to light this week, there are fears the Doha could do exactly as Putin has and withhold supplies.
It got here after MEPs voted to suspend legislative work on a visa liberalisation take care of Doha, banning all Qatari officials or business representatives from the European parliament. This got here following the arrest of disgraced Greek MEP and a vice-president of the European Parliament, Eva Kaili.
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She was accused of being in involved in a bribery network with the aim of helping Qatar to secure a positive deal on an upcoming visa liberalisation agreement. Police also seized greater than €900,000 (£785,000) in money from suitcases owned by her and husband Francesco Giorgi, an aide on the EU assembly.
Alexander Kirk, a campaigner at Global Witness, told Express.co.uk this week that the EU’s give attention to securing gas from elsewhere is the incorrect strategy to go about addressing its energy crisis and its reliance on Russia, as an alternative calling for a greater green energy shift.
He said: “There isn’t any ‘good’ strategy to source fossil gas, as Europe has discovered painfully this 12 months. For a long time, the gas industry has worked hard to lock the EU into fossil gas dependence. We at the moment are seeing the outcomes: Europe is forced to choose from an unprecedented energy crisis or the funding of repressive regimes, equivalent to Russia or Qatar.
“It’s crucial that the EU and its allies take decisive motion to further spend money on and develop its green infrastructure, not only to guard the planet but in addition to safeguard the well-being and interests of its residents against autocratic governments that seek to take advantage of and undermine them through the usage of fossil fuel diplomacy.”
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Similar issues were riased this summer when the EU struck an agreement with Azerbaijan that may see a considerable increase within the annual volume of gas exported from the Caspian petrostate to Europe over the subsequent five years. In response to a signed document, by 2027, it’s going to send Europe at the very least 20 billion cubic meters of fossil gas every 12 months via the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC)— a 3,000-kilometre network of pipelines sending gas to the EU.
That is despite the actual fact Azerbaijan’s President, Ilham Aliyev, met with Putin within the Kremlin and signed a Declaration on Mutual Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia just two days before the Russian President sent his troops into Ukraine back in mid-February 2022.
While European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claims Azerbaijan is a “reliable partner” by way of energy, there is claimed to be Russian involvement in key parts of the Azeri gas supply chain en path to Europe which puts those claims into query, Politico reports.
Gligor Radečić wrote in an opinion piece for the publication: “What’s little discussed, nevertheless, is that critical infrastructure needed to extract and transport the gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe is co-owned by Lukoil — a Russian oil and gas giant closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime.
He later added: “Not only is Lukoil a significant taxpayer in Russia, which is in a position to use its gas profits from Azerbaijan to fund Putin’s war machine, but its position in so many Azeri projects gives the corporate access to information that might be used to support Russia’s continued weaponization of its own fossil fuels exports.”