On December 15, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion, titled “Energy Crisis: Will Europe Have the Coldest Winter in History?” with the participation of Pavel Sorokin, Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation.
The real winter is just beginning in Europe, but the situation on the gas market is still alarming. Back in November, active gas extraction from storage facilities began. Hub prices remain super-high. There has been a sharp rise in the cost of electricity, energy companies are filing for bankruptcy, and factories that use gas in their production operations are closed. A “gas inflation chain” is beginning to form across the entire range of gas consumption. Gas tariffs in the retail sector are being revised.
The representatives of the European Union say that they have built an effective model of the gas market; however, they do not want to conduct a real investigation into the actions of speculators in the gas markets and refuse to certify the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Speaking at the plenary session of the 18th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that by limiting Russia’s activities in the energy sector, the EU is drawing itself into an obviously unfavourable situation. According to the most pessimistic forecasts, European gas reserves may dry up by the middle of winter, which could lead to heating and electricity blackouts throughout Europe.
The European Commission came up with a proposal to form strategic gas reserves and develop mechanisms for the joint purchase of gas to replenish these reserves. However, it is too early to talk about real progress in this matter.
What awaits the European gas market in the coming winter? What is Gazprom’s role? When will the Nord Stream 2 start operations? Will Europe be able to agree on the creation of energy reserves? How will this affect Russian gas supplies? These and other questions were answered by the participants in the discussion.
Pavel Sorokin, Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation
Konstantin Simonov, Director General of the National Energy Security Fund
Marc-Antoine Eyl-Mazzega, Director of Ifri’s Center for Energy
Oleg Barabanov, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club.