Illustration photo – Commissioning of a floating LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, December 17, 2022.
London – Europe despite significant of the decline in natural gas prices has not yet won the energy war with Russia. Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said this in an interview with the Financial Times (FT). He warned that Russia could end its remaining gas supplies to Europe and that global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is likely to increase as a result of China's economic recovery. This could complicate filling Europe's gas storage tanks before next winter.
“Russia bet on the energy card and didn't win,” Birol said. “However, it would be too bold to claim that Europe has already won the energy battle,” added Birol. He pointed out that next winter could be more difficult for Europe than the current one in case of colder weather.
However, in a recent interview with Reuters, the head of the largest German energy company RWE Markus Krebber predicted that gas prices in Europe will not return to the record highs of last year. “The situation on the gas market is not so tense now, especially thanks to the mild winter and the resumption of the production of nuclear power plants in France,” he said. up to around 350 euros (roughly 8300 CZK) per megawatt hour (MWh). Since then, however, it has fallen significantly, in addition to the relatively warm weather in the winter months, large-scale maritime deliveries of LNG also contributed to this.
Last week, the price of gas for the European market dropped below 50 euros (roughly CZK 1,200) for the first time since 2021. per MWh. However, it remains significantly higher than before the start of the attack by Russian troops on Ukraine, which, among other things, reduces the competitiveness of European industry.
Birol pointed out that the European economy has not yet been affected by a large-scale recession, although the energy crisis has hit it hard. “(Gas) prices are still seven times higher than in the United States, electricity prices are three times higher than in China,” he said. “The permanent solution to energy security should be based on clean energy,” he added.