President Joe Biden’s chief energy adviser has asked Russia to give Europe a larger natural gas supply before a new pipeline enters operation to reduce the possibility of gas shortages this winter. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will deliver gas across the Baltic Sea and directly into Europe, has yet to receive final regulatory permission from the European Union and German authorities. Regardless of whether the deal is approved, Amos Hochstein, Biden’s senior adviser for global energy security, believes Russia has enough gas to increase deliveries to the EU and that it should do it “soon.”
Hochsein also stated that the European natural gas shortage was caused by several factors, including China’s high gas demand. About 90% of Europe’s gas is imported from Russia. As a result, natural gas prices have risen by up to five times since the beginning of the year. Even as gas prices have surged, state-controlled Gazprom has continued to supply gas to European clients under long-term contracts but has not boosted supply on the spot market.
Some analysts and politicians have accused Russia of withholding gas supplies to pressure European authorities into expediting the new pipeline’s final approval, which might take months. According to analysts, Nord Stream 2 is not expected to alleviate Europe’s gas shortage until next year significantly. Hochstein reiterated a September warning that if the approaching winter is colder than usual, a lack of gas and heat could cost lives in the most vulnerable towns.
He stated that the “problem that we are experiencing is not only about money and rising costs; it is really a life-threatening situation.” The pipeline was opposed by the United States, which said it would increase Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, and Poland and Ukraine also opposed it due to energy security concerns.