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Russia's Gazprom says accusations of low gas deliveries to EU are 'false'

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By Josephine Joly
Gazprom logo is seen during the International Gas Forum, at the Expoforum Convention and Exhibition Centre in Saint Petersburg on October 7, 2021.
Gazprom logo is seen during the International Gas Forum, at the Expoforum Convention and Exhibition Centre in Saint Petersburg on October 7, 2021.   -   Copyright  OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP   -  

Russian energy corporation Gazprom called accusations that the company allegedly supplies little fuel to Europe in order to manipulate prices "lies and falsehood".

Gazprom's representative, Sergey Kupriyanov, said on Sunday that the energy corporation is fulfilling all its obligations, and has even increased volumes compared to last year.

"All accusations against Russia, Gazprom, that we are supplying little gas to the European market, are absolutely groundless, unacceptable and untrue, or, more simply, it is a lie," Kupriyanov added.

Accusations came earlier this week after the Russian company stopped to reserve transport facilities at the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which passes through Belarus.

This led to a reversal of gas flow, with German network operator Gascade reporting on Sunday that the fuel was being sent back to Poland for six days in a row.

Gazcade's data showed that flows at the Mallnow metering point on the German-Polish border were going east into Poland at an hourly volume of nearly 1.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh/h).

After Gazprom stopped reserving Yamal-Europe's capacity, gas prices in the EU reached a historic high, surpassing $2 (€1,77) per cubic metre for the first time ever.

Although many have connected this to the on-going rise in tensions between Moscow and the West, Russian officials, including president Vladimir Putin, have rejected that was the cause.

In turn, Putin said on last Thursday that Germany was reselling Russian gas to Poland and Ukraine rather than relieving an overheated market, putting blame for the reversal, and rocketing prices, on German gas importers.

The German Economy Ministry has declined to comment on Putin's allegation.

However, the company said that many countries in Europe have already received all the contracted gas for this year and made no further demands, thus explaining why the pipeline is temporarily shut.

"This year Gazprom supplied 50.2 billion cubic metres of gas to Germany under a contract. This is 5.3 billion cubic metres more than last year. In addition to Germany, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Denmark, Finland, Poland are among the countries to which Gazprom has already supplied more gas than during the last year," Kupriyanov went on.

The representative emphasized that Gazprom is absolutely ready to give more gas as soon as new demands are made and paid, under long-term contracts.

Gazprom also commented on the gas reversal, claiming that will make further problems for German consumers as the winter is coming, and will in turn force Polish and Ukrainian companies to pay much more compared to if it was bought directly from the Russian company.

"There is a physical reversal of gas from Germany to Poland and, apparently, to Ukraine in the amount of 3 to 5 million cubic metres per day. At the same time, gas is being pumped out from underground storages facilities in Germany, where 47 per cent of the gas has already been taken," Kupriyanov said.

"The winter is just starting. It's not the most rational decision. I don't even want to speak about the price of such reverse deliveries," he said.

"These prices are significantly higher than the prices for contract volumes provided by Gazprom. Conclusion -- all the problems in Western Europe are created by themselves. There is no need to blame Gazprom. It is better to look at the mirror."

In Ukraine, the head of state gas transmission operator said Russia's Gazprom had reduced daily gas transit across Ukrainian territory to 87.7 million cubic metres, from 109.

"The reduction in gas supplies to the EU at a time when prices reached (€1,77 per cubic metre) suggests that these are not economic decisions but purely political ones, aimed at increasing pressure on the EU to launch Nord Stream 2 on terms of the Russian Federation," Sergiy Makogon wrote on Facebook.

Makogon said Europe had set a record for extracting gas from storage because of supply shortages.

Analysts say that the recent sharp jump in price is caused by weather forecasts saying that Europe is in for a very cold winter, and a decision by Germany's Federal Network Agency, which said it has no plans to certify the Nord Stream 2 pipeline until next July.

Additional sources • EBU, Reuters