No Proof That Russia Manipulates Energy Prices: Macron

Image credit: EPA

French President Emmanuel Macron stated in an interview with the Financial Times that he sees no evidence that Russia is manipulating oil prices.

According to the president, it is unlikely that prices will be reduced much in the near future, thus the main goal is to avoid supply disruptions and a further increase in gasoline prices on the eve of winter. To that aim, he urged the G20 to coordinate energy suppliers’ and customers’ actions.

The European gas market has seen significant swings in recent months. Futures were trading at $515 per thousand cubic meters in early August, but by the end of September, they had more than quadrupled, reaching a historic high of $1,937 on October 6. This was followed by a drop, although prices remained elevated. Other energy sources are also growing more expensive, resulting in a rise in the cost of power for European Union residents.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the European market’s gas scarcity is the outcome of the European Commission’s economic strategy. Furthermore, eight billion cubic meters of gas from the United States and the Middle East were not delivered to Europe.

For his part, Gazprom’s CEO, Alexei Miller, blamed the price hike on a lack of gas reserves in European underground storage facilities. At the same time, he highlighted that the firm sends gas to the EU in complete conformity with contracts and that it attempts to meet requests for extra supply based on its capabilities.

According to preliminary figures, Gazprom boosted exports by 15.3 percent from January to September, reaching 145.8 billion cubic meters. This is the second-highest nine-month total in the history of delivery (it was more in 2018 alone – 149.2 billion).

At the same time, Putin authorized Gazprom to begin work on increasing reserves in European UGS facilities in Austria and Germany when the gas injection into Russian storage facilities was completed. Miller stated that the firm is prepared to do so. The Russian UGS facilities will continue to be filled until November 8.