Eoin Treacy's view -
Russia is ready to supply more natural gas to head off a growing energy crisis, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday, on a day when U.K. and continental spot prices again hit all-time highs.
"I would like to hear your suggestions as to what more we can do to stabilize global energy markets," Putin told ministers in a carefully stage-managed broadcast of his introductory statement at the start of a video conferenced cabinet meeting. "We are ready to work on this, and we would like such work to be based on an absolutely commercial basis."
Russia is the one country capable of increasing gas flows substantially to European markets, where the shortage of gas is greatest, at short notice. However, the newly-completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which gas monopoly Gazprom (MCX: GAZP) would use for such additional flows, is still awaiting certification from German regulators before it can ship gas. The pipeline project has also been beset by U.S. sanctions and by opposition within the European Union, where fear of Gazprom's dominance in the market is widespread - especially among countries in the former Soviet bloc.
Elsewhere in his comments, Putin repeated previous criticisms of what he called "mistaken" European policy shifts that had left the EU and U.K. markets vulnerable to supply squeezes, notably its refusal to sign new long-term contracts with Gazprom and its desire to buy more at spot prices.
The challenge for countries accustomed to exporting energy is their consumers are now more interested in energy independence than energy security. Europe’s desire to buy at spot rates opens it up to exactly the kind of volatility experienced over the last couple of months. That a feature rather than a bug of this energy transition.
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