Gas crisis exposes "vulnerabilities" in Europe's energy system: Putin
The gas crisis unfolding in Europe has exposed vulnerabilities in the European energy system, Russian president Vladimir Putin said at the plenary session of Russian Energy Week in Moscow on October 13.
Booming LNG demand in Asia, global supply constraints and low storage levels have driven spot prices on European exchanges to record highs. Russia, as Europe's biggest gas supplier, has been accused of exacerbating the crisis by failing to send additional gas beyond its contractual obligations.
However, Putin instead blamed low wind power output this year as well as Europe's increased use of spot sales and gas-on-gas pricing for causing the crisis. Russia and other gas exporters have argued that long-term and oil-indexed contracts provide greater stability for buyers.
"The European energy system is filled with vulnerabilities and this caused the crisis on the market," Putin said, adding that Moscow was prepared to work with its European partners to ease the crisis. But if they want more gas, those partners should agree to long-term contracts, he said.
"We have to understand how much our partners in Europe want to buy," he said.
The European Commission has dismissed that EU policies are to blame for the current situation, arguing instead that the crisis shows that Europe needs to fast-track its energy transition and rein in the use of gas and other fossil fuels. The commission has also been urged by some EU lawmakers to launch an investigation into alleged manipulation of European gas prices by Russia. It is unclear whether it was referring to Gazprom, but the commission said on October 13 that it would investigate possible anti-competitive behaviour on the energy market.