Gas shock exposes Europe’s strategic frailties
Winter crisis eases but energy transition woes persist
How much natural gas will Europe need over the next 20 years, and from where? As the winter crisis eases, tricky questions abound. European politicians are pointing fingers at Gazprom amid surging energy poverty. The Nord Stream 2 soap opera has been sidelined by US-Russia crunch talks over Ukraine and NATO. EU climate ambition and LNG imports have never been higher. What exactly is Europe’s strategy for gas during the energy transition?
The role of gas in Europe has never been more divisive. A rancorous relationship with Russia brings a geopolitical dimension to EU efforts to marginalise the fuel to achieve rapid emissions reductions — an endeavour that is being thwarted by planned nuclear retirements and unscheduled reactor shutdowns.
The worst of the winter energy crisis seems to have passed. A flood of LNG has pushed send-out rates from European terminals to record highs, aided by milder weather in Asia. Wholesale gas and power prices have softened from recent peaks, but will remain…