News / Economy

Russia-Ukraine Standoff Prompts Energy Fears in Europe

Russia-Ukraine Standoff Prompts Energy Fears in Europei
X
March 05, 2014 3:40 AM
Gas prices have risen in Europe over fears the standoff between Russia and Ukraine could result in disruptions to supply -- and possibly undermine the continent’s economic recovery. But as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, it’s not the first time such a dispute has hit Europe’s energy supplies -- and this time officials say they’re now better-prepared.
Henry Ridgwell
Gas prices have risen in Europe over fears the standoff between Russia and Ukraine could result in disruptions to supply and possibly undermine the continent’s economic recovery. However, it’s not the first time such a dispute has hit Europe’s energy supplies -- and this time officials say they’re better prepared.
 
Russia supplies around a quarter of Europe’s gas. Ukraine sits between them both, so any potential for regional conflict has a direct effect on this vital energy supply line.
 
“The prices have risen in the traded market over the past couple of days because of anxiety about the availability of gas over both the medium and the long term,” said Simon Pirani, a senior research fellow at Britain's Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.
 
Ukraine itself is highly reliant on Russian gas. The Russian firm Gazprom says that beginning next month, it will raise the cost of gas it sells over the border. The Ukrainian state-owned firm Naftogaz owes Gazprom around $2 billion.
 
The European Commissioner for Energy, Gunther Oettinger, said Tuesday the EU would pay Ukraine’s gas bills, adding that there are no immediate concerns of shortages in Europe.
 
“At the moment, in member states, the gas situation is good. We’ve had a mild winter, our storage capacity is fuller than it was last year and we’ve got reserves everywhere,” said Oettinger.
 
In 2006 and in 2009, Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine over price disputes -- causing subsequent shortages in Europe. Cold winters and low stockpiles meant the gas price soared.
 
Europe is now less reliant on Ukraine as a transit route for Russian gas. The North Stream pipeline, which was opened in 2011, takes gas directly under the Baltic Sea to Germany -- Russia’s biggest European customer.
 
“There’s also been quite a lot of work done in central and eastern Europe as a result of the 2009 dispute when people realized that Russia-Ukraine disputes could have implications further down the pipeline,” said Pirani.
 
That includes the South Stream project. President Vladimir Putin attended an on-site ceremony as the first pipes were welded together in 2012. The pipeline will run along the bottom of the Black Sea directly to southeast Europe. It’s due to come online in 2015 and reach its full capacity -- roughly half of Europe’s demand -- by 2018.
 
But hostility between Moscow and Europe is growing over Russia’s apparent troop deployment in Crimea, which Moscow denies.
 
The EU has threatened as-yet unspecified sanctions. So would Russia retaliate by turning off the gas taps to Europe? Unlikely, thinks Pirani.
 
“Gazprom’s a commercial company, it has to make money, and it wants to deliver its gas to its customers in Europe,” said Pirani.
 
Analysts say the current tensions will likely make Europe redouble its efforts to find alternative energy supplies and cut its reliance on Russia.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9238
JPY
USD
119.51
GBP
USD
0.6614
CAD
USD
1.2119
INR
USD
63.562

Rates may not be current.