European gas prices jump as Russia tightens supply squeeze

Gazprom reduced flows on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20% of its normal capacity yesterday

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Gas prices in Europe jumped on Wednesday following Russia further reducing supplies to the region.

Prices surged by around 30% in two days, closing at €204.85 (£172.08) per MWh after flows on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline were reduced to 20% of its normal capacity yesterday.

That’s in comparison to wholesale gas prices in Europe at just above €37 (£31.08) per MWh during the same time last year.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which connects Russia with Germany, was initially cut to 40% of its capacity in June before threatening to make further cuts this week.

While Russia’s Gazprom blamed turbine maintenance issues for the reduction in output, officials in Europe accused Moscow of waging a “gas war” against Europe and cutting supplies.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said prior to Russia’s Gazprom drastically cutting gas flows: “We are in a serious situation. Putin uses the means he has.”

He added: “Putin has the gas, but we have the power.”

Russia previously supplied around 40% of the EU’s natural gas imports, while most of the rest comes from Norway and Algeria.

This week, European ministers agreed to cut their countries’ gas consumption voluntarily by 15% between 1st August and 31st March 2023 in a bid to prepare for a full disruption of Russian gas this winter.

Wholesale gas prices have soared since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, affecting consumer energy bills globally.