Less than a month after a senior politician in Paris asked Germany to put a stop to the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, energy giant Gazprom has revealed that France has bought 43 percent more Russian gas so far this year, RT reported.
The latest financial report from the country’s largest company divulged that France’s underground gas storage facilities are less than 30 percent full.
“Gazprom has increased its exports to France by almost 1.5 times since the beginning of the year,” it said. “The demand for natural gas in European countries against the background of a cold, frosty winter continues to grow, and the occupancy of European underground gas storages continues to shrink.”
On February 1, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune told France Inter radio that Paris wants Berlin to stop construction of the pipeline, which he says the government has “the greatest concerns” about. His statement came less than a fortnight after the EU parliament passed a resolution.
However, despite the EU’s objection to Nord Stream 2, gas exports are on the rise. In particular, Gazprom noted that Italian purchases have grown by 112.7% so far in 2021, with Poland – which is also opposed to the new pipeline – also increasing its imports by 63.7%.
The project was designed by Germany and Russia to increase Berlin’s energy security and to make the process less reliant on third countries transiting gas, which will also lower the price. However, the pipeline is seen by Washington as a threat to American companies’ ability to export its liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU market.
On Sunday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told TV station Russia 1 that obstruction efforts are in vain, and the 95 percent complete pipeline will eventually be finished.