GENEVA (Realist English). President of the Global Gas Centre René Bautz in an interview with the web-portal swissinfo.ch expressed his doubts that the EU will be able to quickly reduce energy dependence on Russia.
“The US are actually exporters of gas, whereas the proportion of Russian gas imported by the Europeans is as high as 40%. For 2021, in the Gaznat zone which includes western Switzerland, we think it’s about 25%. The Russian contribution is even bigger in German-speaking Switzerland. To shut down all Russian gas would mean a big challenge for replenishing our stocks this summer.”he pointed out.
According to Bautz, there would have to be new long-term contracts, and major investments in liquid gas (LNG) in Europe, which would take three to four years:
“Bern has asked the Swiss Gas Industry Association to examine the security of supply. We’re dealing with a major policy shift here. It’s going to be a watershed.”
Global Gas Centre’s president reminds that there are no terminals in Germany to increase LNG volumes.
“It would also be feasible to increase imports of liquid natural gas, but there would need to be ports able to liquify that gas (at -163° C) to compress its volume, then warm it up at destination. Germany, which imports 49% of its gas from Russia, hasn’t a single one.” explains Bautz.
Russia is the largest supplier of natural gas, the share of Russian energy exports to world markets is about 20%. It is obvious that without Russian hydrocarbons, if sanctions are imposed, the gas and oil markets will collapse. The price hike for energy resources might be unpredictable.
On March 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in response to the economic war declared by the United States and Europe, instructed to transfer into rubles payments for the Russian gas that is supplied to the unfriendly countries.
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev in an interview with RIA Novosti stressed that there was a direct logic in the decision to supply gas for rubles to unfriendly countries:
“We were told: “Guys, we are closing correspondent positions to your commercial banks, transactions in dollars and euros are unacceptable, the SWIFT cannot be used in relation to the sanctioned banks — at least some of them.” Well, what do they want?” the politician said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the supply contracts provide for payment in dollars or euros. Similar statements about the refusal to buy gas for rubles were made by other leaders of the EU countries.