A natural and related petroleum gas processing plant at the Yarakta Oil Field, Irkutsk Region (Russia), March 11, 2019, Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
- A French minister stated Sunday that Putin was “likely” going to cut off natural gas supplies to Europe.
- Bruno Le Maire spoke while France pushes for a bill to allow it to requisition power plants.
- This is one of many drastic steps that EU countries who heavily use Russian energy may consider.
On Sunday, France’s Minister for Economy, Finance and Recovery warned that Russia could cut off all natural gas supplies to Europe.
This would cause a major shock to the world’s geopolitics, and it would undo decades worth of development in Europe or Russia based on energy sales.
Bruno Le Maire, speaking at the economic forum Les Rencontres Economiques was adamant: “Let’s get ready to a total shut down of the Russian gas supply.” “This is the most probable event.”
He urged France to invest quickly in energy sources like biogas and nuclear technology to be free from Russian energy.
He also stated that war in Ukraine could spread and that he did not believe Vladimir Putin’s threats were being taken lightly.
Monday was the 10th day of maintenance when Russia shut down Nord Stream 1’s natural gas pipeline from Germany. European leaders fear that the pause could lead to a permanent shutdown.
Nord Stream 1 can transport 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas. However, since mid-June Germany has cut approximately 60% of its natural gas supply due to a missing piece of equipment — a turbine — which is currently being repaired in Canada. Germany is heavily dependent upon Russian energy and declared a shortage of gas shortly after.
Reuters reported that Canada announced Sunday it would lift sanctions against Russia in order to allow the turbine’s return.
Ukraine called the shutdown a bluff and criticised the lifting of sanctions for setting a “dangerous precedent”, Radio Free Europe reported.
After Russia cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, the EU charged President Vladimir Putin with “blackmail”, according to The Washington Post.
This was a direct response to the massive economic sanctions that were imposed by the EU, and other Western powers, as punishment for the invasion.
Russia’s control of a large portion of European energy supplies was a major lever for President Vladimir Putin.
Russia was able to change the supply of gas to Europe, causing economic pain and keeping them on edge as European countries struggled to reduce their dependence on it.
According to Breugel , a Belgia-based think tank, the EU has decreased its dependence on Russia’s energy from 40% to 20%.
However, the move caused an increase in energy prices, which had been rising before the invasion. This left several countries in financial crisis.
Last week, German union chief Yasmin Fahimi stated that insufficient gas supply could lead to “entire industries” collapsing.
Reuters reported that France submitted a draft bill on July 7 to allow it to requisition electricity plants powered by gas. Le Maire spoke to reporters Sunday and suggested that the country be ready to identify key companies whose supply of energy should be prioritized. Politico reported.