EU 'over-dependent' on Russian gas supplies

A stark warning from the IEA:

A growing dependence among European Union countries on Russian gas supplies piped through politically unstable Ukraine is placing the EU’s energy security at risk, the International Energy Agency has warned.

At a time when China and Japan are increasingly looking to Russia to meet their rising energy demands, Claude Mandil, the director of the IEA, the energy adviser to the industrialised countries, warned: “Governments have been too early in thinking there would never be supply issues with natural gas and electricity.”

Russia is the world’s largest gas producer. EU countries, excluding the 10 new members, buy 40 per cent of their gas imports from the former Soviet Union, most of which is supplied by Gazprom. Some of the new members are entirely dependent on Russian energy.

The IEA’s alert about Russian supplies came as German Gref, Russian economy minister, warned that Gazprom’s proposed purchase of Yugansk, Yukos’s main oil producer, would erode its efficiency and could invite legal action from Europe.

Conflict in Ukraine could have very serious consequences indeed.