EU Failed to Find Replacements for Russian Gas in Short Term, French Newspaper Reveals
© AP Photo / Dmitry LovetskyIn this April 9, 2010 file photo, a Russian construction worker speaks on a mobile phone in Portovaya Bay some 170 km (106 miles) northwest of St. Petersburg, Russia, during a ceremony marking the start of construction for the Nord Stream pipeline.
© AP Photo / Dmitry Lovetsky
Some of the EU countries are pushing forward the idea of doing away with Russian hydrocarbon supplies in the wake of the special ,military operation in Ukraine. The bloc has been failing to negotiate a ban on purchasing Russian oil for weeks, and severing much stronger ties in the gas sector will be even more difficult.
The European Union is facing trouble finding replacements for Russian hydrocarbons, especially gas, amid EU threats to refuse Russian energy resources, French newspaper Le Monde diplomatique has stated in its article. The article explains that in their effort to stop purchases of Russian hydrocarbons, the European countries faced an obstacle in the form of the established order of things in the oil and gas sector, which can't be changed quickly.
The EU countries buy their oil and gas from other sources apart from Russia - Norway, the Netherlands, Algeria and others. While they are good as reserve options for buying gas, their limited output makes importing from these countries an unlikely replacement for Russian gas in the years to come, the article said.
"The remote geographic location of other manufacturers, such as Nigeria or Angola, combined with the varying degrees of obsolescence of their capacities, does not allow them to become a reliable replacement for Russia", Le Monde diplomatique said.
Algeria struggles to reach its goals on output in accordance with OPEC+ limitations, Le Monde diplomatique noted. Libya is still divided between warring factions following an uprising backed by the Western countries, with oil and gas production being constantly interrupted and no political solution to the conflict being in sight, the newspaper added.
Algeria and Egypt, in turn, have reserve capacities to ship to the EU in the near future, but are unlikely to use them simply because they don't want to frustrate their relations with Russia, Le Monde diplomatique claims. Algeria needs weapons sales from Russia in the context of strained relations with Morocco, while Cairo is worried about food security issues and specifically supplies of wheat from Russia, which is one of the biggest players on the market, the newspaper stressed.
The newspaper believes that the only possible strategy for the EU would be strict cooperation between the European countries or the outright centralised management of energy resources. However, it would go against Brussels' long-term policy of liberalising the energy market in Europe.
In this context, the US might use the situation to their advantage and try to replace Russian hydrocarbons on the European market. However, for that, some of the EU states will have to spend big to build LNG terminals.
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