Gas prices in Europe Increased 6x year-on-year in June: Commissioner
The European Commissioner for the Economy warns that a complete halt in Russian gas supplies would bring Europe's economy to "negative territory".
At the end of June, gas prices in Europe increased six times year-on-year and are still rising, European Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni pointed out on Thursday.
During a briefing, Gentiloni indicated that "Commodity prices are showing signs of easing lately, in the face of global weakness; however, gas is an exception. Interruptions in Russian gas supply and concerns of the further cuts pushed the European benchmark gas again."
"By the end of June, it was trading at 140 euro per megawatt\hour more than 6 times the price one year earlier. But this price continues to rise after our cut of date, reaching 173 euro per megawatt\hour on July the 12," he noted.
The European Commissioner also warned that a complete halt in gas supplies from Russia would bring the European economy to "negative territory".
"This scenario [halt in Russian gas supplies] would bring our economy into negative territory, which is, with this carry-over impact, quite substantial, of course," he said.
In mid-June, Russia's energy giant Gazprom significantly cut gas supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to technical issues at the Portovaya compressor station, where only three gas compressor units were functioning after Germany's Siemens delayed maintenance works.
Moscow repeatedly warned that further delays in the maintenance could lead to a total halt of gas flows through the pipeline network to Europe.
Earlier in the day, the pipeline's operator, Nord Stream AG, announced it would stop the deliveries for regular annual maintenance, including testing of mechanical components and automation systems.
Maintenance is expected to take place between July 11 and 21. Some countries, including Germany and Austria, have expressed fears that the supplies may decline or halt even after the work is completed.
Introduction of Gas Price Caps Not Expected in Near Future - EU Commissioner
In a similar context, Gentiloni said that the European Union would not introduce price caps on Russian gas in the near future as it is an extraordinary measure.
"This will not be a proposal that we will decide in the coming days and in the current situation. This is a possible evolution in case of the deteriorating scenarios," he mentioned.
It is noteworthy that since 2021, energy prices in Europe have been surging as part of a global trend. After the beginning of the war in Ukraine and the adoption of several packages of sanctions against Russia by the West, the situation with energy prices has considerably worsened.
Russia's Gazprom has also significantly reduced its Nord Stream 1 gas supplies due to delays in maintenance work on turbines by German and Canadian companies, forcing EU countries to tap into winter gas reserves and consider returning to coal production.
It is noteworthy that the European Parliament had backed EU regulations designating nuclear and gas energy as environmentally sustainable economic activities, claiming that private investment in gas and nuclear projects may play a role in the green transition process.