20 Jul 2022 13:32

Launch of Nord Stream 2 cannot urgently fix shortage in EU anymore, Putin warns Scholz

TEHRAN. July 20 (Interfax) - Even the urgent launch of the Nord Stream pipeline cannot bring larger amounts of gas to the European market as half of the capacities of the pipeline have already been reoriented to the Russian market amid the delays of German regulators.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters in Tehran he had warned German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about that. "We have another ready route, Nord Stream 2. It can be launched. But it is not being launched. But there are problems here, too. We discussed this issue with the chancellor, and I raised this issue," Putin said.

"I said Gazprom has created capacities, has reserved them, and it needs to do something with it. They can't hang in the air forever. The answer was that there are other, more important issues now, it's difficult to tackle it now, and it's not the right timing. However, I had to warn him that we would take half of the volumes intended for Nord Stream 2 for internal consumption and processing then. I talked about that issue at Gazprom's request, and Gazprom has already done that," Putin said.

"Therefore, even if we launch Nord Stream 2 tomorrow, it won't be 55 million cubic meters a year, but exactly half of that. In addition, bearing in mind that only the second half is left of this year, it means only one-fourth. That's the situation with the supplies," he said.

"The European countries neglected the significance of traditional energy types and focused on non-traditional ones, such as solar and wind energy. The winter turned out to be long, there was no wind, and that was it. In addition, investment in traditional energy decreased due to the political decisions made earlier. Banks are not financing, insurance companies are not insuring, local authorities are not providing plots for new development, the pipeline and other transport is not developing. That is the result of politics during the previous decades. That's where everything started (and not due to some actions taken by Russia and Gazprom) and the prices started going up!" Putin said.

He also said the force majeure declared by Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine for one-third of the transit volumes under the contract with Gazprom is politically motivated. "Ukraine suddenly said it was closing one of the routes that run through its territory, allegedly because one of the gas pumping stations is not controlled by it, but is on the territory of the Luhansk People's Republic. However, it went under the control of the Luhansk People's Republic several months ago, but they have recently closed it without any grounds for doing so. Everything was functioning normally there, no one was interfering. They just closed it for political reasons," Putin said.

The president also said Poland's refusal of direct supplies from Russia and the reverse from Germany have aggravated the shortage on the European market.

"It is our Russian gas, which turned out to be cheaper to the Poles. They bought from us at a fairly high price, closer to the market one, and Germany is buying from us under long-term contracts, 3-4 times cheaper than the market price. It is profitable for German companies to sell to the Poles with a small bonus. It is profitable for the Poles to buy because it is cheaper than to buy from us directly. But the gas volume on the European market has decreased, and the total price on the market has gone up. Who won? All Europeans lost," he said.