Can Belarus Really Cause a Gas Shortage in Europe?

the essential Tension is mounting between the European Union and Belarus after accusations of facilitating the illegal entry of migrants into European territory. Belarusian President Lukashenko retaliated with the threat of shutting down the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which carries Russian gas to Germany and Poland. Could this conflict lead to a gas shortage in Europe? La Dépêche answers you.

European countries have seen the price of gas rise in recent months due to a shortage. Alexander Lukashenko is outbid by threatening to interrupt deliveries of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline: a source of Russian gas for the territory, especially for Poland and Germany.

To read also: Migration crisis at the borders of the EU: Belarus affirms that it “will respond severely” to any attack

A response from the Belarusian president to the accusations of the European Union, when Brussels indicated that new sanctions were expected next week. A few thousand migrants wanting to go to Europe, mainly from the Middle East, are stranded in difficult conditions at the border between Belarus and Poland.

The European Union then accuses Minsk of orchestrating this migratory influx, notably by issuing visas, in revenge for Western sanctions imposed on the regime of Alexander Lukashenko last year after the brutal repression of opponents.

If the gas passes through Belarus, it remains of Russian origin. Russia accounts for the largest share of the EU’s annual natural gas imports, with 41% according to the edition 2021 of Eurostat key figures report in Europe.

“Russian gas deliveries will not be suspended”

The Kremlin assured AFP on Friday that “Russian gas deliveries to Europe would not be suspended, despite threats from Belarus to shut off the floodgates of a major gas pipeline passing through its soil in the event of European sanctions. “

Russia “is and will remain a country that fulfills all of its obligations to deliver gas to European consumers,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

In France, the leading gas supplier country is Norway, up to 36%, ahead of Russia up to 20%.

“Russian gas transit is relatively minor”

Nicolas Mazzucchi, researcher at the Foundation for Strategic Research, told AFP that if Alexander Lukashenko executed his plan, “there is actually very little chance that anything will happen because the transit of Russian gas is relatively minor. “

To read also: Migrants at the Poland-Belarus border: emergency meeting at the UN Security Council

The energy specialist adds that “Russia sends annually between 150 and 200 billion cubic meters of gas to the European Union, and (Belarus) only represents 30 to 40 billions “. There would be possibilities to transfer transit to other pipelines, “that would not be very complicated” according to him.

The shortage does not have to worry the European Union, nor France. However, the conflict could spill over into gas prices. “Like all types of energy, it is sensitive to geopolitical effects,” Nicolas Mazzuchi analyzes, “uncertainty in the markets potentially increases prices, but the markets will also very quickly realize that there is no real risk on the market. supplies “. He therefore concludes that “prices will certainly go up but remain relatively contained” “.

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