Putin Calls For Stability In Gas Market As EU Prices Soar
Moscow, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th Oct, 2021 ) :President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called for stabilisation in the natural gas market, as critics in Europe blame Moscow for record spikes in prices ahead of winter.
Speaking at an energy forum in Moscow, Putin said it was "very important" to "suggest a long-term mechanism to stabilise the energy market" in what he called a "difficult situation." Europe is facing a gas crisis leading up to the coldest season of the year, with a surge in prices and depleting reserves caused by a cold end to last winter.
Demand is rallying as economies ramp up after the end of pandemic lockdowns and there are dips in supplies from renewables like wind.
Some in Europe are blaming Russia for the increase in gas prices, saying Moscow is intentionally not boosting supplies to pressure Europe for more long-term contracts and for the certification of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Russian officials have repeatedly said over recent weeks that suppliers are fulfilling obligations under contracts with European buyers.
Moscow is not upping supplies available on the short-term spot markets, which the EU prefers, arguing it is more competitive.
Russia's energy minister said earlier Wednesday that new contracts would be needed for increased deliveries to Europe.
"If there are requests, that will only be via the establishment of new contractual obligations," Nikolai Shulginov said, describing Russia as a "reliable supplier".
But critics charge that the recently constructed pipeline would deprive Ukraine -- a key EU ally -- of transit fees.
Russia denies it is pressuring customers, saying it needs to fill its own reserves for the winter before sending supplies on to Europe.
The crisis has also been exacerbated by a lack of wind at turbine sites, coupled with ongoing nuclear outages -- and the winding down of coal power by climate-conscious governments.