Gas futures started their decline late Wednesday when Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country would boost supplies to Europe.
“You have proposed increasing the supply of gas on the market, on the exchange, in order to bring down speculative demand and the turmoil in Europe. This can be done… on the stock exchange in St. Petersburg,” Putin stated at a meeting on energy development, addressing Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.
The president also urged Russian state energy giant Gazprom to continue to fulfill its obligations for gas deliveries to the EU through Ukraine.
“It is necessary to fully comply with the contractual obligations for the transit, delivering our gas through the gas transportation system of Ukraine,” Putin said. He also noted that Gazprom should not increase gas supplies through new pipelines bypassing Ukraine under the current circumstances, even though it might be highly beneficial.
Some have criticized Russia for not helping Europe overcome the current energy crunch and holding back supplies. Putin dismissed these claims, stating that “there was not a single case in history when Gazprom refused to increase supplies to its consumers… Even in 2020, when total deliveries to Europe declined against 2019, we nevertheless supplied an additional 4.7 bn cubic meters of gas to Germany – totaling 112.9%.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that surging gas prices stem from a variety of factors, and “only amateurs” can blame Russia for the situation.
“We insist that Moscow is in no way at fault for the situation on the gas market in Europe, this is inconceivable. Russia has fulfilled, is fulfilling and will fulfill all the obligations assumed under existing contracts in a consistent and thorough manner…” Peskov said.
According to Peskov, the current developments in Europe were brought about by the post-pandemic economic recovery, the surge in energy consumption, and unfilled gas storage facilities.