As a pre-summer heatwave hits Western Europe this week, policymakers in the region are scrambling to fill underground storage with natural gas supplies to provide households with enough fuel to keep the lights on and homes warm before the cold returns.
Fears of a severe winter gas shortage are driven by the risk of a full supply disruption to the EU — which receives roughly 40% of its gas via Russian pipelines. The bloc is trying to rapidly reduce its reliance on Russian hydrocarbons in response to the Kremlin’s nearly four-month-long onslaught in Ukraine.
The worry for many is just how dependable Russian gas flows are to Europe as the conflict continues and as economic sanctions bite. Indeed, Moscow has already cut gas supplies to Finland, Poland, Bulgaria, Denmark’s Orsted, Dutch firm GasTerra and energy giant Shell for its German contracts, all over a gas-for-rubles payment dispute.