JAKARTA/WASHINGTON: Russia is burning excess gas because it has no capacity to store it after cutting deliveries to the European Union, the bloc’s energy commissioner said on Tuesday.
“Our satellites are registering the leak of natural gas or them flaring the natural gas and this is very polluting,” European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson told reporters during a visit to Indonesia.
“They don’t have alternative pipeline connections to other regions in the world, and their own underground gas storage is full.”
Europe is facing an acute energy shortage this winter after the announcement on Friday of a complete shutdown of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline by Russian giant Gazprom. The Kremlin has blamed the halt in deliveries on sanctions imposed by the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Europe is also looking to wean itself off Russian oil, meaning Moscow “is seeking new markets, and they are selling their oil products with a significant discount to the ones who are willing to buy it”, Simson said.
The G7 group of advanced nations on Friday announced a cap on the price of oil imported from Russia in order to limit Moscow’s revenues.
“We don’t want to pay the unfair price to the aggressor. So our message to Indonesia but also to India and China is, if you’re still willing to buy Russian oil products, propose an oil price cap to them,” Simson added.
Simson, who was in the Indonesian capital Jakarta for a G20 energy meeting and bilateral talks, will next fly to India where she is expected to discuss the price cap proposal. She did not indicate what position Indonesia had taken.
Indonesian oil company Pertamina previously considered snapping up Russian oil at a knockdown price but has not confirmed whether it has signed a contract since the start of the war in Ukraine in February.
N. Korean munitions for Ukraine
Russia is buying large amounts of ammunition from North Korea to replenish stocks depleted by months of intense fighting in Ukraine, a US official said on Tuesday.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb 24 with the apparent expectation of seizing control of the country within weeks. But Ukraine has halted the advance with the help of weaponry and munitions from the United States and other Nato and European allies.
“The Russian Ministry of Defence is in the process of purchasing millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea for use on the battlefield in Ukraine,” a US official said in a statement.
“This purchase indicates that the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions,” the official said, on grounds of anonymity.
Both sides in the war have used huge amounts of artillery ammunition and lost large volumes of armor in the grinding battle. But Western sanctions have made it harder for Moscow to acquire components to manufacture replacements, including computer chips.
Under that pressure, the US official said, “We expect Russia could try to purchase additional North Korean military equipment going forward.”
Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2022