Gazprom warns Europe of gas shortage without increased Russian imports

Gazprom Neft CEO Alexander Dyukov attends a session during the Week of Russian Business in Moscow. (Reuters)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Gazprom warns Europe of gas shortage without increased Russian imports

LONDON: Europe will soon experience a gas shortage and price spike if it tries to rely on US gas imports to cover rising demand instead of increasing purchases from Russia, Kremlin energy giant Gazprom told Reuters.
The Trump administration has said it intends to level the playing field in energy markets by offering US gas to Europe and Asia, citing a need to reduce what it calls the market-distorting power of actors such as Russia and OPEC.
Russian gas supplies to Europe have become increasingly politicized since Moscow cut supplies to Ukraine in the last decade amid pricing disputes and after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The West has accused Russia of using gas as a political weapon. Moscow has responded by blaming the West for blocking its new pipeline projects for political rather than economic reasons.
The warning about a possible supply crunch comes as Gazprom prepares to start large-scale deliveries to China in a move reminiscent of Russia’s oil strategy, under which Moscow became a major supplier to Beijing at the expense of Europe.
Gazprom’s deputy head Alexander Medvedev said the company would have enough supplies for both Europe and Asia but that it was time for Europe to decide from where it should source gas.
“Europe completely miscalculated when they assumed that they won’t need much additional gas and if they need some it can be supplied from outside Russia,” Medvedev, who looks after exports for the world’s top gas producer and exporter, said.
Gazprom’s exports jumped 8 percent last year to an all-time high of 194 billion cubic meters on higher demand and lower prices, giving it a record share in Europe of 35 percent.
Medvedev said the share could rise above 40 percent over time as Europe’s gas demand rises, production in the Netherlands and Britain falls and Norway’s output growth should slow after 2025. US supplies will remain modest, expensive and would mainly go to Asia.
“Many serious analysts will come up with a model for you showing that Europe will soon face a major gas crunch and, what is worse — a steep rise in prices,” Medvedev said.
“Regarding calls about the need to cut reliance on Russian gas, should we in Russia be speaking about an over-reliance on money from one continent? Like from the dollar or euro? What it all means in fact is that we are mutually dependent.”
Gazprom will begin pipeline supplies to China next year. The company wants to take at least a one-tenth market share there by 2025, when it builds another major route.
“We can supply as much gas as needed to Europe even though we are entering a new market in China. But Europe needs to decide now. They need to start thinking right now about who will cover additional demand after 2025. Unfortunately there is no energy dialogue between Russia and the EU,” Medvedev said.


Rolls-Royce, others still preparing for hard Brexit

Rolls-Royce is continuing with contingency plans as uncertainty grows over whether Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan will receive backing. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung))
Updated 17 November 2018
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Rolls-Royce, others still preparing for hard Brexit

LONDON: British aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce said it was continuing with contingency plans as uncertainty grows over whether Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan will receive parliamentary backing.

“This agreement is only a draft,” CEO Warren East told BBC radio on Friday, joining a line of industry captains urging politicians to be pragmatic and not torpedo an agreement that would allow UK-EU trade to keep flowing.

“We are going to continue with our contingency plans and that includes buffer stocks so that we have all the logistical capacity that we need to carry on running our business.”

Manufacturers such as Rolls-Royce fear new customs duties and red tape could threaten the just-in-time delivery of thousands of parts on which they depend if Britain crashes out of the EU on March 29.

May’s office has released statements from a number of major companies such as Diageo, the London Stock Exchange and Royal Mail in support of her deal.

The British pound clawed back losses as May clung to her Brexit plan, and Britain’s FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 both recovered, rising 0.2 and 0.3 percent respectively after Thursday’s sharp sell-off.

But she is still grappling with the biggest crisis of her premiership following the resignation of key ministers in protest over the draft deal, and faces a tough battle to get it through Parliament if she survives. “The political situation remains uncertain,” German carmaker BMW said
late on Thursday, adding that it would continue to prepare for
the worst-case scenario, which is what a no-deal Brexit would represent.

BMW’s Mini plant in Oxford accounts for 13 percent of Britain’s total car production, with nearly 220,000 cars built there last year.