Russia’s New Gas Pipeline will delivers more power to Moscow

New Gas Pipeline

New Gas Pipeline

Foreign policy hawks were worried that the proposed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany would give Moscow more leverage over Europe. The first few weeks following the pipeline's completion have done little to relieve their fears.Spot gas prices in Europe are at all-time highs, and inventories are at an alarmingly low level.

Fears are rising that a harsh winter would force the region into a bidding war with Asia for liquefied natural gas imports to keep the lights and heaters turned on, and all eyes are on Moscow to assist.Gazprom, Russia's state-owned gas company, is Europe's largest supplier of the commodity. The International Energy Association said on Tuesday that Moscow could do more to alleviate Europe's gas crisis, and that it was  “an opportunity for Russia to underscore its credentials as a reliable supplier to the European market."Nord Stream 2 is managed by a Swiss firm with funding from five European energy firms, but it is ultimately controlled by Gazprom.

Despite the fact that the building was completed earlier this month, the proposal still requires approval in Berlin and Brussels.Normally, Europe's gas stores are refilled during the summer, but that hasn't happened this year. While privately held supplies have grown in recent months, Gazprom has depleted its European gas storage and has rejected to provide additional fuel to northwest Europe.It claimed to have a maximum production capacity of 550 billion cubic metres of gas at the start of the year. It is now on schedule to produce around 510 bcm.

Some of the misses have reasonable explanations, and the problem for Europe has been exacerbated by Gazprom's desire to rebuild Russian gas inventories. However, even a partial closure of the production deficit would cover Europe's inventory imbalance, which is estimated to be around 15 bcm“It’s a big gap between 510 and 550. Maybe they could raise it a little bit, but it’s difficult to know how much really they could ramp up," says Henri Patricot, energy analyst at UBS.

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