Russia denies responsibility for Europe’s winter energy crisis

Olga Tanas January 14, 2022

MOSCOW (Bloomberg) - Russia has nothing to do with the energy crisis in Europe, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said, rejecting allegations from the International Energy Agency that it’s holding back supplies and driving up prices of natural gas.

“Neither Russia nor our main exporter Gazprom have anything to do with this,” Novak told state television Saturday, according to the Interfax news agency. Russia has “delivered significantly more” to clients such as Germany and Turkey that had exhausted their contracted limits, he said.

Novak blamed “the shortsighted policy of the European Union and European Commission, which for many years has deliberately moved away from long-term contracts, shifted its energy sector toward reducing dependence on Russia.”

Europe is grappling with an energy crunch that’s resulted in gas and power prices breaking multiple records over the past few months. The continent’s gas inventories are already at their lowest in more than a decade, and the two coldest months of the year have only just begun.

Russia is ready to increase deliveries, Novak said, but needs long-term contracts to justify making investments in production.

Novak was responding to comments earlier this week from IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, who accused Russia of holding back supplies to the spot market despite high prices. He said Russia could boost deliveries by at least a third.

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