Europe boosts Russian gas imports

March 6, 2014

European utilities boosted imports of natural gas from Russia to the highest level in three weeks even as storage remains at record-high levels amid the mildest winter since 2007, Bloomberg reported on March 6.

Russia shipped 493 million cubic meters of gas to Europe, excluding the Baltic States, on March 3, the highest level since Feb. 10, Energy Ministry data show. U.K. gas prices jumped the most in 29 months on March 3 as Russia took control of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine, which transits about 15 percent of Europe’s use, before paring gains the next day after President Vladimir Putin said there was no immediate need for military action. Bulgaria and Serbia, which suffered shortages in the past decade amid disputes between Russia and Ukraine, are pumping gas into storage.

Bulgaria, whose industry was “in collapse” when Russian gas flows via Ukraine were cut in January 2009, is hoarding the fuel, Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said yesterday.

“We are exploring all options to avoid surprises,” Oresharski told lawmakers in Sofia. “Our analyses show there is a low probability for gas supplies to be cut. Combined with our own gas production and rational use of the fuel, we will have supplies for about two months.”

Copyright: Bloomberg, 2014