Russia has denied allegation by the International Energy Agency (IEA) that the country should be blamed for the current gas supply crisis in Europe.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday that Russia’s state-run gas company Gazprom has not reduced gas supplies to Europe as suggested by IEA’s chief Fatih Birol.
“Of course, neither Gazprom nor Russia, in general, are at fault here,” said Novak, a former Russian energy minister, in an interview with Rossiya-1 TV channel.
“I was somewhat surprised by the statement of the head of such a respected international organization as the IEA, which is trying to shift the problems that European consumers have today,” he said.
In a post on LinkedIn on Thursday, Birol claimed that Russia’s gas deliveries to Europe had dropped by 25 percent in the last quarter of 2021 compared to the same period of 2020, and by 22 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2019.
Birol suggested that the lower supply from Russia was to blame for the record-high gas prices in Europe which has caused energy bills for households across the continent to soar.
However, Novak said that a long winter in Europe and increased supply of liquefied natural gas from the United States to customers in Asia amid an economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic were main reasons behind skyrocketing gas prices in Europe.
Europe relies for 40% of its gas needs on Russia. The continent could receive even more gas supplies from Russia if a second pipeline starts transferring gas from the country to Germany after obtaining the approval of regulators.