What are the alternatives to Russian gas and oil for Europeans?

We have to prepare for the suspension of supplies.” The European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simsun, warned Tuesday, May 3rd. On the 69th day of the occupation of Ukraine by the Russian army, the European Union refuses to pay for its gas purchases from Russia in rubles, as demanded by Moscow. In response, the European Union, which also intends to adopt a sixth set of sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime,Expect a complete shutdown of natural gas deliveries – As already happened on April 27 in Poland and Bulgaria.

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With regard to Russian oil, it is not yet time to cut, but the 27 countries are considering imposing a ban on imports, which will force distributors to go elsewhere to get supplies. but where ? Franceinfo reviews the options available to European countries in terms of natural gas and petroleum products.

Other gas producing countries can increase their shipments

To continue supplying European homes and industries with natural gas, Fortunately, the Europeans have other pipelines.shaded Patrice Gauvron, professor of economics at Paris Dauphine University, in an interview with franceinfo. Because if, in 2021, Russian gas accounts for about 45% of European imports, according to the European Commission (link in english)Or Norway (23%) or Algeria (12%) supplies not insignificant quantities to EU countries. These countries are able to replace “in part” Russia emphasizes energy specialist.

“These producers have direct contact with their customers in Europe, Patrice Geoffron says: Norway is finalizing a new gas pipeline to Poland. Algeria is handed over to France thanks to a pipeline that runs through Italy. However, the quantities that these countries can provide is still much less than what Russia currently provides. Putting it from one end to the other, these stretches amount to 10 billion cubic metres. expert assessment. A far cry from the 155 billion cubic meters Russia delivered to Europe in 2021, out of the 400 billion Europeans consumed that year, according to the European Commission.

“We will get rid of this addiction”, And yet he wants to believe Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market. In the France Inter microphone, on April 30, he also confirmed that the European Union has done so“A range of solutions throughout the year”Including the extension of some nuclear power plants to relieve gas-fired power plants. “Without that, there will be a real problem in the short term, that is, next winter”warns Patrice Gauvron, who expects a slowdown in the industry, a major gas consumer. “We risk the need for a quota system, which is unheard of since the oil shocks of the 1970s.”

Europe can import LNG from far countries

To avoid such a scenario, the Old Continent is already turning to America, the Gulf states and Oceania, which are leaders in the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) that can be transported by sea and truck. At the end of March, US President Joe Biden promised the European Commission (document in English) The United States will deliver to Europe at least 15 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas in anticipation of the coming winter. Large quantities can also be delivered from Qatar and Australia, the first and second exporting countries for this precious liquid.

This serious alternative to gas delivered by Russian gas pipelines is likely to have a very high cost. “Demand for LNG has exploded recently, especially in Asia, where we are actively seeking to replace coal,” Remembers Patrice Geoffron. Far from being the only interested party, the European bloc will necessarily have to put a hand in its pocket to secure its imports. “We are sure that we pay more for LNG than we pay in peacetime, The specialist notes, And then this gas is not always free, many contracts are already in place and then it is necessary to have the ability to bid.”

The last option on the table: biogas, also known in its purified form, biomethane. An energy source that is produced in Europe, but currently represents only a small part of the European Union’s energy mix, and less than 1% of the energy produced, according to an industry specialist. However, the war in Ukraine could give impetus to the European project “RePowerEU” (in English), Which aims to produce 35 billion cubic meters of bio-methane by 2030. Announcements from the European Commission are expected on this subject at the end of May.

Big Doubt About Russian Oil

Russia exports two-thirds of its oil to the European Union. In 2021, it supplied 30% of the crude oil and 15% of the petroleum products purchased by the European Union and the bill amounted to $80 billion, estimates the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell. But not all EU countries are involved in the same way, and the 27 countries are currently still divided over what sanctions to adopt.

most dependent countries, Like Slovakia or Hungary, it will actually pay a heavy price for the ban and demand that it be progressive. “If the EU is willing to grant exceptions to these two countries, it is a safe bet that by the end of the week the 27 countries will agree to a phased oil embargo.”Tuesday, I analyzed in the microphone of Franceinfo Oliver Dorgans, Lawyer specializing in economic sanctions.

Then impose duties on countries that are less dependent on the source of crude oil and products refined elsewhere. Norway, Kazakhstan and the United States, which each accounted for 8% of European imports in 2021 according to the commission, supply EU countries with roughly the same amount of oil as Russia. But ask them to give more “Every chance to cause an increase in world prices”, warns Patrice Gauvron. In Europe, fossil energy will likely soon chime with higher prices, rationing, “or both”, Specialist alert.

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