Europe to face dire winter due to looming gas shortages - ERDAL TANAS KARAGÖL

Europe to face dire winter due to looming gas shortages

The repercussions of the Russian occupation of Ukraine have caused an increase in global energy prices, and these repercussions continue to negatively impact the security of energy supplies to EU states, which depend on Russia for energy imports.

Russia has cut off natural gas supplies to several of the bloc’s states for refusing to pay for it in rubles. This may not see much of an impact during the summer months, but the tough times for European countries that depend on Russia for energy imports will begin in the coming fall and winter months.

Russia continues to use its natural gas as a weapon against EU countries. Ongoing conflicts and tensions between Europe and Russia over Ukraine have also caused a decrease in Russian natural gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which transports natural gas to Europe.

The supply of natural gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline will be reduced to 20% of its capacity, which will increase threats to the security of energy supplies.

Expectations indicate that Russia will use its natural gas as a weapon against the European Union countries as winter approaches


What can European countries do?

Ensuring the security of energy resources and protecting citizens from rising energy prices are among the priorities of European countries.

And if Russia cuts off natural gas to European countries, there are not many solutions for Europe in the short term, except for certain options.

Among the measures that the European Union countries are working on is to increase gas supplies through storing natural gas in the short term, thus ensuring sufficient gas supplies to citizens and keeping prices low.

Accordingly, EU states have to fill their natural gas reserves to the maximum.

One of the priority goals of the European Union countries is either to fill their natural gas reserves to the brim before autumn, and to share those resources with other countries in need. Or the mandatory rationing of natural gas in all European countries during the winter season. Obviously, the second option will cause social upheavals and negatively affect economic growth if it occurs during a recession.


Natural gas storage capacity in EU states

Most European countries are storing natural gas. The natural gas reserves of Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Austria represent two-thirds of the total EU reserves, particularly as these countries boast the highest natural gas storage capabilities among the bloc’s states.

For this reason, projections indicate that natural gas resources in countries with significant natural gas reserves will be important to the security of natural gas supplies for states with no storage capabilities.

Countries such as Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta and Slovenia do not have natural gas storage facilities, so these countries rely on Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Austria, which have natural gas storage capacities.

For this reason, there will be an interconnection between many European countries in the form of a chain.

So there is a high probability that the problem that arises in securing energy supplies will have an impact on all European countries.

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