Amos Hochstein, the US President’s energy security adviser, said yesterday On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin was close to using natural gas as a political tool if his country did not send the fuel to energy-starved Europe.
“I think we’re getting close to that if Russia really has supplies of gas that can be supplied, and it chooses not to do that unless Europe acquiesces to other demands that have absolutely nothing to do with energy,” an adviser to President Joe Biden told reporters when asked if Putin was using gas as a weapon. .
Hochstein said that gas prices in Europe are rising not only because of events in the region, but also because of the dry season in China, which reduced energy production from water sources, as well as the increasing global competition for natural gas.
He added: While a number of factors led to the European gas crisis, Russia is in the best position to help Europe.
Biden’s adviser also said he had no doubts that the only resource right now that could really make a difference to European energy security this winter is Russia.
He added that Russia could increase upstream operations to produce gas, and should do so quickly through existing pipelines.
Putin has dismissed suggestions that Moscow is cutting gas supplies out of political motives, saying it would increase the flow as required by partners.
Putin blamed the record high gas prices on the European Union’s energy policy, and said his country could boost supplies to Europe if the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline gets the necessary approvals.
Earlier this month, the head of Ukrainian state-owned energy company Naftogaz (NAFTOGAZ) accused Russia of trying to blackmail Europe into certifying the Nord Stream 2 pipeline by keeping fuel supplies low.
The pipeline, which Washington opposes because it goes around Ukraine, has been completed but needs approvals from Germany to deliver Russian gas to Europe via the Baltic Sea.
Hochstein returned to say that approvals from Germany and the European Commission for the “Nord Stream 2” line will likely take until March, so if Russia says that it can quickly boost the flow of gas through this line, it should be able to do so now through the lines existing tubes.