Energy specialists are now cautioning that Europe’s natural gas supplies might be fully depleted by January of the following year.
According to energy research & consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, there is a risk that Europe won’t be able to store the gas it needs for accelerated heating during the colder winter days under the current energy circumstances, including the recent throttling of gas supply through the North Stream 1 pipeline, which Russia blames on technical issues.
Europe will have 69 percent of its total storage capacity for the winter if Nord Stream runs at 45 percent capacity. According to the business, Europe will only be able to refuel to a maximum of 60 percent if Russia completely stops supplies.
Moreover, the principal analyst for global gas research at Wood Mackenzie mentioned in the statement, “If Gazprom continues restricting flows, in both cases storage will run out throughout winter unless other demand or supply measures are taken, or Gazprom sends additional gas via available booked capacity via Ukraine, although we believe this is very unlikely.”
By forgoing the use of the Ukrainian gas transit infrastructure and diverting its supply, Russia has been limiting the amount of gas it supplies to Europe since 2020. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the ensuing international sanctions placed on it has indirectly made Europe’s energy problems worse.
For the first time since March, gas futures on the Dutch TTF exchange reached a price of more than €133 per megawatt-hour on June 23. In addition, Gazprom sought to pay in rubles for its natural gas, a demand rejected by several European countries, leaving them without access to the market.
Filippenko added, “Gazprom’s supply into Europe is the biggest unknown. If Gazprom restarts flows via Nord Stream at full capacity, although we believe this is unlikely, and Russian flows are at contracted levels.”
Along with this, the Energy minister of Belgium, Tinne Van der Straeten, highlighted that there was “No indication” that the natural gas supply to Belgium was likely to be stopped but did call for greater joint purchases.