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Update on Russia/Ukraine Gas Crisis

  • January 16th, 2009
  • Posted by Daniel Challis

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Russia is no longer a reliable gas supplier to Europe according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which spoke out on Thursday (15.01.09) against EU states being cut off for days as a result of the dispute.

EU leaders and officials are also condemning the dispute, saying Russia’s reputation as a dependable energy provider is in jeopardy…

IEA POSITION

IEA chief economist Fatih Birol told a conference in Madrid of a “very dark shadow” Russia was casting on its status as a reliable supplier.

“The Russian-Ukrainian gas crisis is another wake-up call to EU countries to restructure their energy policies,” he said.

Birol also told BBC Radio on Monday (12.01.09) that what Europe was witnessing was a good “introductory chapter” to what could well be a long drawn out process between Russia and Ukraine.

“Gas is becoming more and more a part of a big geopolitical game,” he said.

Birol said Europe needed to look at a range of options to deal with emergency situations.

“We need increased gas stores within European countries as well as alternate supply routes to bring gas to Europe, such as North Africa,” Birol said.

Birol also spoke of increasing gas security within Europe by utilising alternative renewable energy sources such as solar and hydro power.

MORE TALKS

Russia and Ukraine as well as EU officials will commence more talks this Saturday (17.01.09) in Moscow to try and resolve the gas crisis.

Czech Energy Minister Martin Riman and EU Energy representatives will attend the summit; the EU team wrote a joint letter to Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers on Tuesday (13.01.09) questioning the credibility of both sides.

Russia and Ukraine both disagreed on the terms of an EU-brokered agreement established on Monday (12.01.09) to resume gas supplies to Europe under the supervision of EU monitors.

More talks are needed to find a resolution to a problem leaving many European householders out in the cold and wondering when the relief will come.

EU COMMISSION CALLS FOR LEGAL ACTION

Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso urged EU countries on Thursday (15.01.09) to consider legal action against gas providers and take concerted action in finding alternative energy sources.

Barroso said Russia and Ukraine had shown they were incapable of fulfilling a commitment they made to end the fortnight long row.

In his speech he also spoke of an implementation of the climate and energy package to improve energy security in Europe in order to avoid recurrences of the current situation.

A similar dispute between Russia and Ukraine occurred three years ago which also put Europe’s gas supply under pressure.

Reference:

BBC News Online, ‘EU to attend gas summit in Moscow’ (15.01.09), http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7830517.stm, (16.01.09).

Javno, ‘Russia No Longer Reliable Gas Supplier-IEA’ (15.01.09), http://www.javno.com/en/economy/clanak.php?id=224586, (16.01.09).

Czech Presidency of the European Union, ‘Presidency and Commission Urge Resumption of Gas Supplies’ (14.01.09), http://www.eu2009.cz/en/news-and-documents/news/presidency-and-commission-urge-resumption-of-gas-supply-in-joint-letter–5883/, (16.01.09).

International Energy Agency (IEA), Interview with chief economist Fatih Birol on BBC radio (12.01.09), http://www.iea.org/journalists/interviews.asp, (16.01.09).

European Commission, ‘Russia and Ukraine fail to resume gas deliveries’ (15.01.09), http://ec.europa.eu/news/energy/090115_1_en.htm, (16.01.09).

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