Russian Gazprom ends gas deliveries to France

published on Tuesday, August 30, 2022 at 10:42 p.m.

The flow of Russian gas to France will be completely dried up on Thursday, after the announcement Tuesday evening by the Russian giant Gazprom of the total suspension on this date of its deliveries to the French group Engie.

“Gazprom Export has notified Engie of a complete suspension of gas deliveries from September 1, 2022 until full receipt of the financial sums due for the deliveries”, indicated the Russian group in a press release published Tuesday evening on its website. Telegram account.

Under a decree by Russian President Vladimir Putin signed at the end of March, Gazprom specifies that “it is prohibited to deliver more natural gas to a foreign buyer if the buyer has not made payment in full within the set period. in the contract”.

However Gazprom affirms that it had not received Tuesday at the end of the day all the sums due for the deliveries of July.

Engie, contacted by AFP on Tuesday evening, declined to comment on Gazprom’s announcement.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, wanting to “reassure Engie customers”, however said that the French group had “found other sources of supply”, without specifying which ones, on the TMC channel.

Deliveries of Russian gas to Engie had already dropped significantly since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, recently dropping to just 1.5 TWh (terawatt-hour) per month, according to Engie. This figure is to be related to “total annual supplies in Europe greater than 400 TWh” for Engie, adds the main gas supplier in France, of which the French State holds nearly 24%.

At the end of July, Engie assured that it had significantly reduced its “financial and physical exposure to Russian gas”, which already represented only around 4% of its supplies. “It is completely within the margin of the flexibility of our portfolios, so we are not at all worried,” said its general manager Catherine MacGregor at the time.

The group recalled that measures had already been put in place to be able to supply its customers even in the event of an interruption in Gazprom flows.

Last Thursday, France’s gas stocks exceeded the 90% filling threshold for the winter (91.47% Tuesday morning), according to the European platform Aggregated Gas Storage Inventory (AGSI), and France is in good road to meeting its target of 100% by November.

“At the level of gas arrivals, we are still seeing today injections which continue to be completely in line with our forecasts and will allow us to be able to arrive at the start of winter with a filling rate which will be optimal for the whole of the French territory”, assured Tuesday to AFP Pierre Chambon, general manager of Storengy France, a subsidiary of Engie specialized in storage.

– Defense Council –

French government spokesman Olivier Véran confirmed that the target would be achieved “by the end of the summer”, but warned that this did not mean that France would have “enough gas to pass winter if the Russians cut it down and we ate a lot of it”.

A defense council devoted to the country’s gas and electricity supply will take place on Friday under the aegis of President Emmanuel Macron.

“Between + gas pipeline maintenance + and + contract disagreements +, a winter with zero Russian gas is the main scenario for Europe”, estimates Simone Tagliapietra, researcher at the Brussels Bruegel Institute.

Since Western countries imposed sanctions on Moscow after the launch of its offensive against Ukraine, Russia has several times reduced its gas deliveries to Europe, which is heavily dependent on it. Russia accounted for some 40% of EU gas imports until last year.

Gas prices have exploded on the Old Continent, brushing historic records in recent weeks (345 euros per MWh in session) due to expected suspensions of Russian supply between August 31 and September 2 via Nord Stream 1, due to maintenance of the gas pipeline, according to an announcement from Gazprom.

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was around 80 euros per MWh.


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