OIES poll shows split opinions on whether Russia could gain role as EU's top gas supplier
A poll taken at an industry gathering organised by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES) last week revealed split opinions among executives, policymakers and consultants on whether the EU could once again make Russia its key gas supplier, Bloomberg reported on December 12.
Russian pipeline gas flow to Europe slumped to an all-time record low in November of only 2bn m3 in November, or 24bn m3 on an annualised basis. In comparison, Gazprom delivered 155bn m3/yr of gas to the market in 2021, and in previous years has sold more than 200bn m3. If Russia does not completely halt shipments beforehand, the EU aims to completely phase out gas imports from the country over the coming years.
However, the OIES poll showed a 40-40% split over whether Russia could once more regain its status as the bloc's number one supplier – a role that has since passed on to Norway. The remaining 20% were undecided.
The author of the Bloomberg piece, energy columnist Javier Blas, believes Europe will continue buying gas from Russia, likening the situation to how the US resumed buying Iraqi crude oil only a few years after liberating Kuwait.
"I'm with the 'yes' crowd – even if Vladimir Putin stays in the Kremlin," he wrote. "As much as European leaders vow they won't return to business as usual after the war in Ukraine, the inescapable realities of geography and markets can trump even the most determined policy makers."
He noted that the energy relationship between Europe and Russia stood firm even during the tensest periods of the Cold War, and the breakup of the Soviet Union and the liberalisation of European energy markets.