Gazprom announces the suspension of its gas deliveries to Engie

For Engie, Gazprom’s gas is over. The Russian giant will suspend its deliveries to the French energy group from Thursday, September 1. Gazprom said in a statement that Engie failed to make full payment for gas deliveries made in July. “Gazprom Export notified Engie of the total suspension of gas deliveries from September 1, 2022, until it receives all the payments due for the deliveries already made”, was it indicated in the press release.

Engie, which holds a 9% stake in Nord Stream, declined to comment on this announcement from the Russian gas giant. The French group had announced earlier in the day that it had been informed by Gazprom of a further reduction in its gas deliveries as of Tuesday. “Gazprom has informed the Engie group of the reduction in its gas deliveries, as of today (Tuesday-Editor’s note), due to a disagreement between the parties on the application of contracts”, the group had declared. French in a press release.

VOS INDICES

Engie had however recalled that deliveries from the Russian energy giant to it had already “considerably decreased” since the start of the war in Ukraine more than six months ago. The recent monthly supply amounted to around 1.5 TWh, compared to Engie’s total annual supply in Europe of more than 400 TWh, the group specifies.

Gazprom’s announcement comes on the eve of a three-day hiatus in Russian gas supplies to Europe with the scheduled closure for maintenance, from August 31 to September 2, of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which supplies Europe into Russian natural gas by passing under the Baltic Sea.

Asked about Gazprom’s announcement, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said: “I think we need to reassure Engie’s customers. Engie has other sources of supply than Russian gas.” “In general, we are trying to organize and prepare in the event of a general cut in the gas supply by Russia,” added Elisabeth Borne during an interview on TMC.

The Minister for Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, had earlier denounced the use of gas “as a weapon of war” by Russia. “Very clearly, Russia is using gas as a weapon of war and we must prepare for the worst-case scenario which is a (total) interruption of deliveries,” she said on France Inter.

defense council

In a context of sharp rise in electricity prices and concern about a possible total interruption of Russian gas deliveries, the French government is stepping up the pressure in favor of a faster reduction in consumption. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne called on French companies on Monday for energy sobriety in the face of the risk of a gas shortage this winter and a defense council dedicated to energy is scheduled for Friday morning at the Elysee Palace. “The supply of gas and electricity being a vital interest for the country, the Defense and National Security Council will aim to take stock of the situation as well as the scenarios envisaged to prepare for all possible scenarios. this fall and this winter”, we say at the Elysée.

“What we are doing today is that we are organizing ourselves so as not to have a cut this winter”, explained Agnès Pannier-Runacher on France Inter.

France’s strategic gas stocks are more than 90% full, which represents “roughly two months in advance”, she underlined. “On a normal winter, we have enough gas in quantity”, but we must prepare for possible cold spells and the associated consumption peaks.

Moscow promises to fulfill its obligations

With this in mind, “chosen sobriety” constitutes the first lever of action, with a 10% reduction in the consumption of electricity and gas demanded of households and businesses. But faced with possible cold peaks, in the event of tension on the network, “we could enter a scenario of one-off rationing” and switch to “a logic of load shedding”.

For electricity, any cuts, during peak consumption, would take place on a rotating basis and for a maximum duration of two hours. For gas, possible interruptions would only concern industries and could last one or two days, in particular because of the complexity of the maneuvers, explained the minister.

As European countries try to boost their gas stocks ahead of next winter, fearing a complete disruption of Russian deliveries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied any voluntary gas withholding by Russia, saying that the only obstacles to the export of Russian gas to Europe were technical problems stemming from Western sanctions against Russia. “Apart from the technological problems caused by the sanctions, nothing hinders the supply of gas,” he said during a telephone press briefing. According to him, the sanctions imposed by European countries, Canada, the United States and Great Britain “prevent normal maintenance and repair operations” by hindering, for example, the return of certain components. “There are no other obstacles for Russia to fulfill its contractual obligations,” he added.

With Reuters (Myriam Rivet, with contributions from Elizabeth Pineau and Camille Raynaud, edited by Jean-Stéphane Brosse)

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