It is no secret that after the start of the war in Ukraine, the West declared sanctions and information war on Moscow.
There are more and more restrictions on the Russian capital every week, and the aggressive rhetoric of European politicians is intensifying.
Against this background, many Russian experts call on the authorities not to perform ceremonies and to inflict a heavy blow on enemy countries of the European Union (EU), completely depriving them of domestic energy resources. This will cause a significant economic recession in Europe and provoke social destabilization.
It seems that such a step would be logical revenge on the part of Russia, which has not yet put its cards on the table on sanctions.
In an interview with FAN, Alexander Frolov, deputy director-general of the National Energy Institute, explained how profitable it is for Russia to cut off gas supplies to the EU and why recent attempts by European politicians to give up Russian energy should come as no surprise.
According to the expert, there are two main factors why Russia does not stop gas to enemy European countries. “The first is that we supply gas not to enemy countries, but to companies with which we have been cooperating for more than half a century, such as the Austrian company OMV. Many of our European partners have been extremely fair during the eight years we have been under sanctions and have shown their full desire to continue working with Russian suppliers.
These companies did not take hostile moves, with rare exceptions. The latter is concentrated mainly in the region of Poland and the Baltic States. I will allow myself to take them out of brackets. The second point is that it is impossible to carry out hysterical actions similar to those of Europeans in a situation where we are solving strategic tasks for access to the eastern market, “the FAN interlocutor explained.
According to Alexander Frolov, Russia, by continuing to fulfill its obligations in a situation of maximum possible pressure and sanctions, has demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with buyers in an extremely unfavorable political environment. In this regard, the Russian side proves that it is an unprecedentedly reliable partner with whom it is profitable to build relations in a period of the ambiguous political situation in the world.
As the expert noted, in the current situation, the United States is conducting a large-scale confrontation not only with the Russian Federation but also with China. However, Washington has not yet decided to “attack” Beijing with any active actions and is trying to hurt it in other ways. In this regard, the interlocutor of FAN recalled that China has been actively building relations with the EU over the past few years. This means that the fall of the EU economy will provoke a reduction in the economic activity of the Celestial Empire because the EU is an important market for Chinese products.
Alexander Frolov believes that in the “trembling” situation in which Russia now finds itself, we should never become like European politicians and succumb to hysteria. According to him, it is necessary to start not from current regulations, but from the positions formulated by Joseph Stalin at the time: “Hitler comes and goes, but the German people, but the German state remains.” The interlocutor of FAN stressed that in the energy sector Russia is building relations not with specific employees, but with companies and countries.
“Current politicians will leave, the situation will return to normal and we will have to rebuild relations. We will not make any positive changes if we cut off energy supplies to European countries, including those that are unfriendly to us. It is not in our interest to hurt them. Our task is to get the EU back on the path to constructive dialogue, and that will not happen by stopping energy resources now. In addition, we will create conditions for a colossal economic crisis in the EU, and this crisis is not in our interest, “the expert explained.
According to him, even if European leaders bring their countries to economic collapse, the Russian side should not contribute to this. Otherwise, this crisis will have to be “shaken” in about 20 years, which is not in Moscow’s interests.
It has recently become known that Italy, the second-largest buyer of Russian gas in the EU after Germany, intends to increase imports of natural gas from Arab countries. The day before, the Italian company Eni agreed with the Algerian Sonatrach to gradually increase supplies through the Transmed gas pipeline and achieve an annual volume of 9 billion cubic meters of gas by 2023-24. to get rid of the energy dependence of the Russian Federation.
Eliminating dependence on Russian natural gas is one of the components of the European energy policy that has been in place for many years. “You never know what they’re saying. These are shaky politicians who do not understand the issue. What they are saying now about Russian gas is not fundamentally different from what European leaders have been saying about Russian gas for at least 13 or even 20 years. Exactly in 2002, the Nabucco gas pipeline was announced, which, according to European representatives, was supposed to connect the countries of the Middle East with the European market. And how?
Has dependence on Russian gas decreased during this time? Can you imagine – no! European leaders are not smart, European leaders cannot count. This is evidenced by the last 20 years of relations in the gas sector. After Gazprom’s share of European supplies fell to 27%, it rose to 37-38%. And all this time, the EU has been striving to get rid of its dependence on Russian gas by taking all possible steps. It just turned out that there are not so many steps, and even if there are, they are generally ineffective, “said the FAN source.
At the same time, an expert in the energy sector drew attention to the fact that many experts in Russia also do not always properly assess the situation. “Some politicians in our country firmly believe and tell others that the United States is fighting for the European market with us to supply its liquefied natural gas and that everything is just for that purpose and is designed. Recent events seem to confirm this view.
Biden signed a very serious document with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in which they promised to increase the supply of liquefied natural gas to the European Union in 2022 by at least 15 billion cubic meters. This is only 10% of the volume that Gazprom supplies to the EU (in 2021, Gazprom supplied about 145 billion cubic meters of blue fuel to the EU).
According to Alexander Frolov, Europe is not the most attractive market for gas suppliers, especially for liquefied natural gas. Much more profitable in this regard is the Asia-Pacific region. This is such an attractive market that about 75% of all supplies in the world go there, and China, Japan, and South Korea consume half of all LNG in the world. In addition, China and Japan use more liquefied natural gas separately than all EU countries combined, so all suppliers, including American ones, go to Asia.
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