Krutikhin told whether Lukashenko will be able to cut off gas to Europe

Belarus’s threats to cut off gas transit through the Yamal-Europe pipeline are most likely coordinated with Moscow. At the same time, if Nord Stream 2 is launched, and routes through Ukraine and Belarus are closed, Gazprom will not be able to supply the volumes of gas that Europe needs,  the Russian energy expert, partner of the consulting company RusEnergy Mykhaylo Krutikhin said on the air of Echo of Moscow, Kosatka.Media reports.

On November 11, the self-proclaimed President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that he was ready to stop the transit of Russian gas through the Yamal-Europe pipeline in response to the sanctions imposed.

“I think such threats are made in coordination with Moscow – it cannot be otherwise. Because the pipes that go through the Belarusian territory are 100% owned by Gazprom. There are two gas pipelines and it is impossible to shut off anything without the consent of the owner and operator of these gas pipelines,” Krutikhin said.

He added that Lukashenko could give the order to stop work at some compressor station, which is located on the territory of Belarus. It will be illegal, but such a threat exists.

“Where the gas pipeline goes outside, there are gas turbine units that drive gas through the main gas pipeline. They work alternately, but there are valves there that can be closed. But here is a difficulty: when closing such valves, it is necessary to notify all operators before doing so, because such an instant increase in pressure threatens that the pipes will burst. There is no doubt that this is even technically impossible to do without the consent of those who supply the gas there,” Krutikhin explained.

Earlier Krutikhin said that the gas crisis was just an episode in Russia's war against the decarbonization of Europe.

But even Lukashenko's verbal "interventions" scare the Europeans. On the day he threatened to halt transit, prices at the Dutch TTF hub rose 6% as the route threatened to run out of gas.

Krutikhin noted that Gazprom could make money on this jump, but back in September the company announced that it would not supply anything in addition to the contracts that it had already signed. That is, Gazprom behaved not as a commercial organization, but as an instrument of political pressure, the purpose of which is to force the Europeans to allow the operation of Nord Stream 2.

However, if Nord Stream 2 is launched and the routes through Ukraine and Belarus are closed, Gazprom will not be able to supply Europe with the gas it needs.

"Nord Stream 1 with a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year goes to Germany (57 billion cubic meters were pumped in 2020). Two gas pipelines run through Belarus, with a capacity of up to 50 billion m3. In total, this is 110 billion m3. How much did Germany receive in 2019 before all pandemics? 52 billion m3. That is, [existing capacity] is three times what Germany is getting. There will also be a stock for other countries. So, Nord Stream 2 will be able to completely cease the transit through Ukraine. But excluding the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline would hit Europe. The capacities of both Nord Streams will not be enough to fully satisfy Europe. Gazprom says that gas exports in 2021 will be 183 bcm (slightly less to Europe). Nevertheless, Turk Stream is working, the capacity of which is 16-20 billion m3. In this case, it will be possible to cope without the Polish-Belarusian route, but it will be arm-twisting for European politicians and consumers,” Krutikhin summed up.

Earlier, Mykhaylo Krutikhin said that Russia was ready to pay any price to finally deprive Ukraine of gas transit.

Tags: Gazprom, gas, Nord Stream 2, gas transit, Turkish Stream, gas supplies, Europe

Read also

German gas shortage may prevent exports to Europe
France says it can do without Russian supplies
749 settlements de-energized due to hostilities