In a recent interview with Russian state broadcaster, Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller revealed that despite claims by certain EU nations that they had stopped purchasing natural gas from Russia, they are still receiving supplies from the country. Miller did not provide specific details about the volumes of gas being received, but he emphasized that gas molecules do not have a “national coloring,” insinuating that it is difficult to trace the actual destination of the gas.
While Miller did not name which EU nations are still receiving Russian gas, he did mention that Russia continues to transit natural gas via Ukraine to the Austrian hub in Baumgarten, which is a major gas distribution center in Europe. Miller pointed out that Russian gas is being supplied to countries in the south and southeast of Europe under existing contracts. He stressed that Russian gas continues to flow into the European market, and the volumes are significant, despite claims by some countries that they have stopped consuming it.
The revelation about ongoing Russian gas supplies to the EU comes at a time when the bloc has been trying to reduce its dependence on Russian energy sources. In response to EU sanctions, Russia demanded that countries supporting the restrictions pay for their Russian gas in rubles instead of dollars or euros, leading to a decline in Russian gas supplies to the EU market in 2022. As a result, the EU had to increase purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In fact, by the end of 2022, the EU had become the world’s largest buyer of LNG, surpassing traditional buyers like China, Japan, and South Korea. Additionally, the US emerged as a major exporter of LNG to the EU, while Russia increased its LNG shipments by 20%.
Earlier this year, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claimed that the EU had managed to overcome its dependence on Russian oil and gas, stating that Moscow had reduced gas exports to the bloc by 80%. Similarly, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz echoed these claims. However, Miller’s recent statements contradict these assertions, revealing that Russian gas is still flowing into the European market and being consumed by some EU member states.
These revelations are significant as they shed light on the complex dynamics of energy supply in Europe and the challenges associated with reducing dependence on Russian energy sources. The situation also underscores the geopolitical tensions and economic considerations that influence energy trade between Russia and the EU. As the EU continues to navigate these challenges, it remains to be seen how the bloc will address its energy needs and relationships with key energy suppliers in the future.