0534 GMT February 21, 2019
The administration of US President Donald Trump has said it intends to level the playing field in energy markets by offering US gas to Europe and Asia, citing a need to reduce what it calls the market-distorting power of actors such as Russia and OPEC.
Russian gas supplies to Europe have become increasingly politicized since Moscow cut supplies to Ukraine in the last decade amid pricing disputes and after Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014 following a referendum.
The West has accused Russia of using gas as a political weapon. Moscow has responded by blaming the West for blocking its new pipeline projects for political rather than economic reasons.
The warning about a possible supply crunch comes as Gazprom prepares to start large-scale deliveries to China in a move reminiscent of Russia’s oil strategy, under which Moscow became a major supplier to Beijing at the expense of Europe.
Gazprom’s deputy head Alexander Medvedev said the company would have enough supplies for both Europe and Asia but that it was time for Europe to decide from where it should source gas.
“Europe completely miscalculated when they assumed that they won’t need much additional gas and if they need some it can be supplied from outside Russia,” Medvedev, who looks after exports for the world’s top gas producer and exporter, said.
Medvedev said the share could rise above 40 percent over time as Europe’s gas demand rises, production in the Netherlands and Britain falls and Norway’s output growth should slow after 2025.
“Many serious analysts will come up with a model for you showing that Europe will soon face a major gas crunch and, what is worse — a steep rise in prices,” Medvedev said.