Moscow’s Turning Russian Gas Eastward, Putin Says

As Europe tries to reduce its reliance on Russian gas and other energy exports, Moscow would work to redirect its energy exports eastward, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

However, considering the fact that Russia supplies around 40% of the EU’s natural gas, Putin has stressed that European nations – the so-called partners from unfriendly countries as he branded them- wouldn’t be able to immediately ditch Russian gas despite their efforts since there’s no rational replacement it in Europe at the moment.

Russia’s energy exports have been hit by western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, which has complicated the financing and logistics of existing deals and is facing additional sanctions on gas and oil the EU is still debating over.

The Russian president also accused Europe of driving up prices and destabilizing the energy market by talking about cutting off energy supplies from Russia, which accounts for around a tenth of global oil production and around a fifth of gas.

But while EU members seek energy supplies from elsewhere – conceding themselves at the same time that they won’t be able to make do without Russian energy resources, including without natural gas – Moscow has been forging closer ties with the world’s top energy consumer China as well as with other Asian countries.

Putin, however, admitted that in order to boost energy supplies to Asia, Russia would need new infrastructure, so he ordered the government to present a plan by June 1 which will include expanding transport infrastructure.

After launching at the end of 2019 pipeline gas supplies to China, Russia agreed in February to a 30-year contract via a new pipeline, yet to be built.

That expansion would reach towards the Asia Pacific as well as countries of Africa and Latin America and will potentially include two pipelines in the Russian unified system of gas supplies – the far-eastern Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok and the China-bound pipeline Power of Siberia.

In theory, incorporating those pipelines in the expansion might enable Russia to switch gas flows from Europe to Asia and vice versa.

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