Russia does not expect gas situation in Europe to balance out soon — Novak

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister noted that the situation would depend on the autumn-winter period and the level of temperatures, as well as on the level of demand for gas in Europe and other markets

MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. Russia does not expect to see the supply and demand balance in the European gas market improving in the short term, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said during a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and members of the government.

“The emerging situation causes concern. So far, we, unfortunately, don’t see that the balance of supply and demand in Europe will balance out in the near future,” he said.

Novak noted that the situation will depend on the autumn-winter period and the level of temperatures, as well as on the level of demand for gas in Europe and other markets. “Of course this is concerning, especially in the industries that affect the production of essential goods and food,” he added.

In addition, the energy crisis in the European Union is causing a shortage of electricity in industry, Novak noted. “Metallurgical enterprises, which largely use electricity in their work, are also suspending their activities. For example, a large zinc producer from Belgium has cut production by 50% at its three plants in the Netherlands and France,” he explained.

Novak added that the situation on the gas market remains severe, with global gas prices increasing 3.5-fold since the beginning of 2021. “The situation on the gas market remains quite tense, primarily due to the fact that prices remain at a fairly high level. Prices in Europe average fluctuate around $1,000-1,100 [per 1,000 cubic meters], in the Asia-Pacific region – about $1,200 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas with premium,”he said.

At the same time, Russia expects to see a significant increase in gas demand in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region in 2021, in particular in China – by 17%, in South Korea – by 18%, Novak added. In general, in the Asia-Pacific countries, gas demand is projected to grow by 7-8%.

The European gas industry's crisis erupted this fall, when spot gas prices began to rise, exceeding $1,000 per 1,000 cubic meters and nearly reaching $2,000 per 1,000 cubic meters. Observers believe that a number of reasons contributed to the crisis. One of them is the explosive growth in Asian gas demand, which has resulted in an increase in Asian market prices and attracted supply from the European direction. The situation was exacerbated by the fact that Europe's share of wind generation fell. The main cause of the extreme volatility in the gas market, however, was the low volume of gas in storage facilities.

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