With winter just around the corner in Europe, uncertainty still looms over how to secure much-needed natural gas supplies. Meanwhile, the pace of shoring up natural gas reserves in Europe has accelerated for the winter, but the storage capacity of natural gas, with the exception of Germany, is still limited.
Germany has the highest natural gas storage capacity in Europe, equivalent to 25 percent of total natural gas consumption. As for the European countries that do not have natural gas storage facilities, they depend, when needed, on countries that have high-capacity storage facilities, such as France, Germany, and Italy.
Therefore, the disruption of the flow of natural gas to countries with high-capacity storage facilities will negatively affect all European countries. In other words, there will be a major energy crisis.
How are natural gas supplies faring?
The issue of natural gas supplies and the security of energy supplies continues to cause concerns. As a result of the ongoing tensions between Russia and European countries, the reduction of natural gas supplies affects the speed of its storage in European countries, and in turn, it turns into a weapon in the battle between the two sides.
Russia announced that it will stop natural gas supplies to France from today until natural gas dues are fully paid, noting that France has not paid what is owed.
Meanwhile, Russia has halted gas supplies to Bulgaria, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands, and Denmark due to these countries not complying with paying for gas in rubles. Russia flexes its muscles by weaponizing energy to counter the sanctions imposed on it by European countries.
Russia also suspended natural gas supplies to Germany through the main gas pipeline "Nord Stream 1", for three days, due to maintenance work in the pipelines. Germany relies heavily on Russia to import natural gas, and thus will be negatively impacted by the disruption of gas supplies.
Accordingly, it has become clear that European countries must be prepared for the worst-case scenario in conjunction with expectations indicating a complete shutdown of natural gas supplies during the upcoming winter.
Are there short-term alternatives?
Securing energy supplies, particularly natural gas, in the short term is not exactly easy. Indications point to European countries and the United States working to bring supplies of liquefied gas to be an alternative to natural gas that they cannot import from Russia.
Despite these measures, the existing technical capacity will not be a substitute for the natural gas provided by Russia.
Meanwhile, supplies of liquefied natural gas exported by nearby countries will greatly contribute to securing natural gas supplies during this period.
In fact, we live in a period in which it has become necessary, economically, politically, and socially, to solve the problem of securing energy supplies, due to the rapid increase in energy prices and because of the problems of securing energy supplies. Energy prices, which are still elevated, also resulted in the collapse of the electricity market, among numerous others.