IEA urges EU to prepare for major winter gas crisis


International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol speaks during the closing press conference of the IEA Ministerial Meeting in Paris, March 24, 2022. /CFP

International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol speaks during the closing press conference of the IEA Ministerial Meeting in Paris, March 24, 2022. /CFP

Gas supplier diversification is not enough to ensure Europe goes through the winter without Russian gas, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Monday, urging Europe to take immediate action more coordinated, in particular by reducing demand.

“Europe is now forced to operate in a state of constant uncertainty over Russian gas supplies, and we cannot rule out a complete cutoff,” IEA chief Fatih Birol said in an article. published on the organization’s website. .

Meanwhile, on Monday the EU signed an agreement with Azerbaijan to import at least 20 billion cubic meters of gas per year by 2027, as Europe seeks to reduce gas imports from Russia.

Source: International Energy Agency

Source: International Energy Agency

Birol acknowledged in the article that there has been progress in diversifying gas supplies. Yet this was not enough, as new supplies were simply not available in the volumes required to replace the missing deliveries from Russia.

He proposed five concrete actions for Europe to prepare for the coming winter. His suggestions included introducing auction platforms to incentivize EU industrial gas users to reduce demand, reducing gas consumption in the electricity sector, improving coordination between gas and electricity operators across Europe, reducing household electricity demand and harmonizing emergency planning.

Russian gas delivery through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline was suspended on July 11 for annual maintenance and is scheduled to end on Thursday.

However, Russia’s Gazprom told its European customers it could not guarantee gas supplies due to “extraordinary” circumstances, Reuters reported on Monday, citing a letter from the state gas giant dated July 14.

The letter added to fears in Europe that Russia could not restart the pipeline as planned in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia for its conflict with Ukraine, according to the report.

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