But despite the bickering and conflicts, both need each other: Europe is based on Russian gas to stay warm, and Russia subsequently needs earnings.
Gazprom is the sole provider of Russian all-natural gas to Europe. This works out to approximately 30 percent of Europe’s consumer marketplace. This consequently means European buyers are accountable for around 40 percent of Gazprom’s annual earnings.
But, dependencies differ from nation to nation. Most countries in Southern Europe rely heavily on Russian gas, although some, like Spain, Portugal, Ireland or Denmark, do not import any whatsoever .
The precarious countries are the ones that rely entirely on imports of gasoline from Russia especially via Ukraine. Bulgaria, for example, is especially at risk. It has quite small traditional gas reserves (5 bcm per 2010 data) and imports 94 percent of its national consumption, it’s hardly any storage capability, also is based heavily on Russian gas imported through Ukraine. Moldova is exceptionally vulnerable also.
Connections between domestic gas grids were set in position, giving nations a backup plan in the event of further disturbance.
New providers were searched to substitute Russia. However, to place these numbers in context, this season Gazprom intends to market 157 bcm into Europe.
Europe Needs Gas, Russia Needs Cash
Each Europe’s various choices for new energy distribution have their particular issues. The US’ big shale gas reserves might wind up heating Europe houses, nevertheless LNG terminals have to be constructed on both continents until substantial amounts can be sent across the Atlantic. This is not likely to occur in the not too distant future. It signifies high investment costs, which might be passed to European customers and businesses — the EU may not like Russia, but it still enjoys cheap energy.
Gas out of Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean can assist, but this might need billions to be invested on new drilling, refining, vents and safety. A proposition to bring gas in the Middle East and the Caspian Sea area to Europe through Turkey is now a fact by 2018-2020. This southern corridor is yet an alternative, but there are tons of logistical and safety hurdles to conquer.
In fact, Europe’s choices are restricted. A more diversified distribution remains some way away. Even the EU’s distribution contracts are long term, which will not allow to create short-term modifications that will account for political variables — Russia is ensured steady gas earnings until at least 2022. Individual nations can not actually do much about it as a 1998 EU directive limits the ability of national authorities. Italy could not abruptly sign a significant deal together with Namibia, for example, without going through EU stations.
Considering that the USSR broke up, Russia has desired to diversify its exports, decreasing its reliance on gasoline delivered to Europe throughout the Ukraine. Due to new pipelines around Belarus and beneath the Black Sea, this is already occurring: in the 1990s approximately 90 percent of gasoline exports from Russia to Europe travelled via Ukraine Pipelines.
It was down to 70 percent in 2007 and also to 50 percent in 2013. When the South Stream pipeline through Bulgaria is assembled, reliance on exports throughout the Ukraine will fall even further, but may nevertheless stay significant.
For Russia, the clear long-term alternative is to locate alternative gas buyers everywhere on the planet. This explains the current Russia-China energy prices . However, Europe still needs more energy compared to emerging markets and has better relations with Russia. For now, despite Russia’s very best attempts, Europe is your principal supply of Gazprom’s earnings and profits. Russia’s attempts to diversify away from Euros and Dollars are not likely to eliminate in the brief run.
The EU and Russia therefore will need to have together in the short and moderate — before new providers or provide routes can be manufactured — to protect energy security for Europe and earnings for Russia.