September 1, 2014

Call Putin’s Bluff on Natural Gas

The EU has convinced itself that its dependence on Russian natural gas supplies deprives it of leverage over Russia, thereby limiting its response to Russia’s hybrid warfare against Ukraine. In reality, however, Russia is locked into Europe as the main export market for its natural gas for decades to come.

The EU has convinced itself that its dependence on Russian natural gas supplies deprives it of leverage over Russia, thereby limiting its response to Russia’s hybrid warfare against Ukraine. In reality, however, Russia is locked into Europe as the main export market for its natural gas for decades to come.

Moreover, the EU can neutralize Russia’s potential threat to cut of natural gas supplies to Europe this winter by taking three steps:  filling natural gas storage facilities in EU member states; securing contracts for deliveries of liquid natural gas (LNG) at Europe’s underutilized LNG terminals to cover the balance of gas demand beyond that which is in storage; and creating a European Energy Security Fund capitalized at around 20 billion euros to finance purchases of LNG, (less than one-twentieth the size of the European Financial Stability Facility created to cope with the Eurozone crisis). By taking these prudent measures, the EU will underscore that it can afford a cutoff of Russian natural gas this winter, but Russia cannot.
More in – Financial Times.  

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