The EU and UK may be forced to ration their energy supplies this winter, as fears grow that Russia could cut more countries off its gas imports. Over the past few months, European nations have scrambled to buy as much natural gas as they can to fill up their winter storage, with the European Commission mandating storage reach at least 80 percent by November 1. As a result of this spike in demand, natural gas costs have skyrocketed, pushing up prices for consumers and businesses.
Speaking at the Aurora Spring Conference in Oxford, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said: “It will be a really tough winter in Europe.
“Some countries will fare better than others but we will all be facing a very significant escalation in energy prices.”
He added that in a worst-case scenario, Europe would have to resort to rationing its energy to prevent blackouts.
Some countries have already warned that in a worst-case scenario, an extreme shortage would force a shut down of industry as the power is prioritised to heat homes in the winter.
A major reason for this panic is that the EU is heavily reliant on Russian gas supplies, accounting for about 40 percent of its imports in the last year.
Over the past year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been weaponising this control over Europe’s energy by squeezing supplies in order to exert political pressure.
After the invasion of Ukraine, Putin ordered Western countries to pay for gas in rubles, after sanctions on Moscow decimated its economy.
Since making that threat, Russian state-backed gas behemoth Gazprom has stopped supplying a number of countries that refused to bow down to Russia’s threats.
These include Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands, while countries across the continent are facing reduced gas flows.
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