The actions of the Canadian authorities and Berlin’s solidarity with its transatlantic partners, which artificially creates obstacles to the implementation of joint gas transportation projects, indicate the predominance of the political factor in the traditional trade and economic mechanisms of interaction between the Euro-Atlantic partners and Moscow. Taking into account the significant rise in the cost of hydrocarbons, the failure of the “green transition” in Europe and the ongoing stagnation of Western markets, the leading circles of Brussels and Washington considered that the time had come to transfer responsibility for turbulence in the energy markets and dynamically accelerating inflation in key European countries to Russia. At the same time, the strengthening mechanism of unfair competition in the EU natural gas market becomes obvious. Gazprom’s competitors, primarily among the American LNG producers, see their interest in presenting Moscow as an “extremely unreliable partner” that imposes long-term contractual “bondage” on fuel supplies to democratic countries, and they are only waiting for the expensive LNG, given the current spot prices.
At the same time, it is worth recognising that the Russian stakes on the tactics of “sobering up” its main trading partner, which risks not getting even half of the 155 billion cubic meters of natural gas it requires ( most of which is used by Germany, France, Italy and Austria), runs the risk of not working at all without North Stream-2. In the current conditions of consolidating the efforts of the US and the EU, which are determined at all costs to undermine the energy monopoly of Russia in European markets without regard to potential costs, the economy is controlled by a bloc political model that can actually reshape the traditional production and logistics chains that have been formed on the continent for decades.
At the same time, we are already seeing how the world gas market reacts sensitively to any technical or deliberate large-scale reductions in supply. The cost of natural gas at the Dutch hub TTF was now almost $1,700 per thousand cubic meters this July. Given the current agenda and approaching winter, this uptrend will only strengthen in EU spot markets. Such trends will inevitably affect the cost of all elements of production schemes in key sectors for the global economy: agriculture, fertilizers, the chemical industry, transport, etc. Such forecasts are mutually unacceptable both for the leadership of Brussels, which once again feels the growth of Eurosceptic sentiments among the masses dissatisfied with the well-being, and for Moscow, which is forced to look for an alternative to its usual European market, and it is obvious that, for example, new Asian partners will demand a solid discount for access to their markets.
At the same time, it can be assumed that with the growth in the cost of pipeline gas and its unreliability due to excessive politicisation, LNG will become the predominant form of blue fuel trade in the future. In this regard, Russia has solid potential rebuilding its export model and entering the global market. At the same time, the existing infrastructure in the east (“Power of Siberia”) could also be oriented towards the delivery of gas to Chinese LNG terminals for further transportation to Southeast Asia, India and Latin America. In this context, it is strategically important to maintain a partnership channel with China, as the main fast-growing consumer of natural gas and a key transport hub in East Asia.