The Russian Federation can increase gas supplies to Europe by at least a third of its current level but is keeping spot sales limited.
Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol made a corresponding statement, hinting that the Kremlin artificially created an energy crisis for political purposes, the Financial Times reports.
“We believe there are strong elements of tightness in the European gas market due to Russia’s behaviour … I would note that today’s low Russian gas flows to Europe coincide with heightened geopolitical tensions over Ukraine,” Birol said.
According to the IEA, Russian gas supplies to Europe fell by 25% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year and by 22% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Russia’s Gazprom is depleting its European storage facilities to increase its impact on limited supplies. Birol noted that the storage facilities are at only 50% of capacity, compared with 70% typical of January.
Last September, members of the European Parliament called on the European Commission to launch an investigation into potential market manipulation by Gazprom, which could lead to rising gas prices in Europe.