The movement of natural gas through a crucial Russian-controlled pipeline has suddenly stopped this Wednesday as tensions keep increasing between the West and Russia.
The Yamal-Europe pipeline’s gas flows, which are controlled by Russian state-run company Gazprom and have usually been sent westward from Russia to Germany, were halted on Wednesday, European data reveals, as reported by Reuters. The sudden halt reportedly meant a setback after EU leaders expected the pipeline to get back to its normal pattern.
In Dec. 2021, Gazprom decreased the pipeline’s gas, which means 10% of the area’s supply, and the company reversed the direction from west to east. The sudden reversal meant natural gas prices, which had already gone up amid an energy crisis in Europe, went even higher.
Gazprom and Russian leaders said that the alteration was a “commercial” choice and that customers would keep getting purchased gas. But geopolitical anger between Russia and NATO have gone up over the past several weeks, possibly putting Europe’s energy at risk.
Russia controls almost 46% of EU gas imports, according to the data.
“A disruption in the energy supplies moving through Ukraine would, clearly, affect natural gas prices in Europe,” a senior Biden White House official told journalists last week.
“And so we are engaging our EU allies to coordinate our planning, including speaking to them about how they used their existing energy stock, which are, obviously, at great low levels this year because of lowered Russian supplies over the past several months,” the official stated.
On January 25, the White House said it would help greater non-Russian natural gas for Europe. These kind of imports would be from the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and the United States.
“We are working with governments and market managers on supply of more natural gas to Europe from many different global sources,” President Biden said in a joint comment with European leader Ursula von der Leyen on January 28. “LNG in the meantime can boost the security of energy supplies while we work to enable the move to net zero emissions.”