How can we become less dependent on Russian gas? “Short-term sacrifices, long-term benefits”

Listen to a conversation with Professor Thieves van de Graf on The Morning on Radio 1 Select

Why are European energy companies shutting down?

After the British Oil and Gas Company PP And a Norwegian state-owned company Equinor Now keep the English Shell Should stop its operations in Russia. The effect of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Surprise,” he says Thieves van de Graf, Professor of International Politics at the University of Kent and specializes in energy politics. “These are companies that have been operating in Russia for more than 30 years. They have established themselves there since the fall of the Soviet Union. They have been very firmly rooted there ever since.”

Companies have made a calculation, says Van de Graf. “On the one hand there is the fear of damaging the reputation and on the other hand I can imagine British companies pressuring the government to make that decision. However, it will cause them a financial crisis. BP will have to sell its shares. The Russian state-owned company Rosneft They are worth billions and will not be fully recovered. “

In the case of Russia, the exit of European energy companies signifies, above all, a loss of knowledge and capital. And for us? “I do not think this will have an impact on Russia’s oil and gas production.

Can Europe live without gas from Russia?

This issue again raises the question of Europe’s greater reliance on Russia’s gas. “I honestly have a Teja-wu,” says Van de Graf. “Eight years ago, after the crisis surrounding Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Europe openly said it would reduce its dependence on Russian gas. But if you look at the numbers, it has only just grown.” Van de Graf explains: “Eight years ago, Europe was importing 30 percent from Russia, and now it is 40 percent.”

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According to him, now is a turning point.

Russia’s reputation is now completely damaged and everyone seems to be awake.

And he touches on another painful point: “It makes no sense: providing arms and support to Ukraine with one hand to counter the Russian invasion, and financing the Russian military apparatus with the import of gas and oil.”

However, Van de Graf says Europe cannot do without imports from Russia. “There are currently no signs that Russia will shut down the gas pipeline and they will not get any of this, however we must be careful. If we lose gas imports now, we will not be able to offset stocks or imports from other regions. Less. “

Do we rely only on Russian gas?

Belgium is less dependent on Russian gas. “We are in a good position, with a large supplier pipeline to Norway, we also have a terminal. Zeebrugge Where can we supply liquefied petroleum gas, “said Van de Graf. “

Van de Graf also points out that we are largely dependent on Russian oil, and he believes this feature is lacking. Belgium figures add up: 6 percent of our gas supply comes from Russia, 20 percent from uranium and 30 percent from oil.

“We are suffering from gas in Europe, Russia is very vulnerable to oil. Russia earns more from oil exports than from gas. At current prices, Russia earns 400 million euros per day from petroleum sales and 260 million from sales. Gas. If you look at where the revenue is, it’s important. I think we should talk about that too. “

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How can Europe not be dependent on Russia?

The European Commission is expected to present a set of measures next week. “The first edition of what’s on the table aims to accelerate the release of the goal of climate neutrality by 2050,” says Van de Graf based on the leaked document.

Ultimately, this European Green Accord will also ensure that our import dependence on fossil fuels is greatly reduced. The extent to which you can achieve this reduces your vulnerability and strengthens your international standing. “

Van de Graf also cites the UN climate report released yesterday, which cites addiction to fossil fuels as a painful point. “We have to take that into account as well. Yes, that switch costs money, but the money you invest in the local economy and jobs, energy costs go down and imports go down.”

Shouldn’t Europe have done this so fast?

Shouldn’t we have tackled that pro problem very soon? “We are asleep in this crisis. The European Parliament has declared the climate a state of emergency, but we have not taken decisive action. Perhaps it is being taken seriously now. Short-term sacrifices must be made to reap the harvest. Long-term benefits. To select.”

Listen to a conversation with Professor Thieves van de Graf on The Morning on Radio 1 Select

Source: And ‘The Morning’

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