The energy crisis in the European gas sector is not the result of a gas deficit on the global market because Europe's suppliers had fulfilled their obligations regarding natural gas deliveries on time and in the contracted quantities, while the problem appeared when natural gas and its supply stopped being an energy and economic issue and turned into a geopolitical one when the U.S. got involved, the president of the Assembly of the Serbian Gas Association, Vojislav Vuletic, has said.
"Europe's natural gas supplies come from its own sources (Norway, the Netherlands, Scotland) and from imports of natural gas in gaseous or liquefied state. Natural gas imports from Russia cover about 35% of the total gas consumption in European countries, own production accounts for about 45%, whereas the rest is imported from Algeria and Azerbaijan as gas, and as liquefied gas predominantly from Qatar and the U.S.," Vuletic told BETA.
He added that there would be no problem with natural gas supply had the U.S. and some European countries not interfered in the whole arrangement of supplying Europe with gas, who thought that a normal, safe and secure supply was possible without domestic production and imports from Russia.
One should remember, he said, how much pressure the U.S. had put on Europe to thwart the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, how many companies had had to follow U.S. orders and pull out of the construction project.
"There is still pressure today," he further said, "to prevent gas transmission to Europe via Nord Stream 2, either by respecting the Third Energy Package or by transportation via Ukraine."
The Ukrainian pipeline, as Vuletic put it, is 50 years old and absolutely unreliable for the distribution of the projected quantities.
"To financially 'help' Ukraine, the U.S. is trying to force Europe and the Russian Federation to direct gas transmission through Ukraine, which is not possible due to the state of the pipeline," said Vuletic.
Many European countries, according to him, had believed the U.S. activities concerning a reduction of gas imports from Russia and potential supplies from other sources and for that reason did not conclude supply agreements with Russia's Gazprom, but rather waited for gas to be provided to them from other sources.
Since there was no gas from other sources, nor an agreement with Gazprom, demand increased and prices jumped to an "unbelievable" level, Vuletic added.
In the meantime, as he put it, Gazprom directed the quantities it had at its disposal to Southeast Asia.
"Russia has sufficient quantities of gas to meet Europe's needs in the future and wants to sell it because it earns a revenue that way, however some countries are trying to reduce sales and its profit, but also to cause it 'political' damage," said Vuletic.
He added that there was enough natural gas on the world market but that it should be treated as fuel, rather than used as a political weapon.
According to him, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban set the best example of behavior in the area of energy and economy when he concluded, a month ago, an agreement with Gazprom on supplying Hungary with gas for the next 15 years.
"That is how serious, sovereign states do it," said Vuletic.
He pointed out that the price of natural gas would decrease as soon as supply contracts and the contracted quantities were defined.
On the occasion of the 1000th edition of Beta Monitor, a specialized economic bulletin focused on South East European countries, Beta News Agency is releasing a series of articles on energy available free of charge on www.beta.rs in Serbian and on www.betabriefing.com in English.