Winter Looms for Energy-Starved Europe

cc Maxence, modified, Flickr,


Signs continue to mount that Moscow intends to wield natural gas as a geopolitical weapon heading into the winter season. First came a largely unexplained dip in volume moving through the Nord Stream I pipeline through June. Now comes a full shutdown of the pipeline until July 21 for a planned period of testing and maintenance, as per Gazprom, the pipeline owner. Both disruptions have complicated efforts by European authorities to reach 80% reserve storage capacity by October, and suggest the possibility of significant supply (and price) volatility during the cold season, and/or forced rationing in energy-starved European economies.

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