Russian gas legally flows to four countries. There is a proposal for change

Russian gas legally flows to four countries.  There is a proposal for change

Four European Union countries have the right to continue importing gas from Russia. However, this consent was granted conditionally and they should take steps to become independent from raw materials from Russia. However, this does not happen. Nevertheless, Russian gas may be replaced by gas from another country.

Basically, Russian gas stopped flowing to European Union countries in 2022, but several countries received permission to continue buying gas from Russians. These are Slovakia, Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary. These countries were unable to find alternative sources of supply quickly enough (note that none of them are located by the sea, which excludes the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG)) or this would involve excessive costs.

Russian gas flows to four EU countries

The countries mentioned above should have taken action to become independent from gas from Russia as soon as possible, but they are in no rush to do so. The European Union has already warned the Austrian government several times that it shows too little initiative and determination in efforts to become independent from supplies from the East. However, spending billions on the reconstruction of gas infrastructure or the construction of completely new connections is not in the interest of these countries: they hope that relations with Russia will somehow normalize and in a few years everyone will forget about the problem. The Austrian government sleeps peacefully: the long-term contract concluded between the Austrian fuel and energy company OMV and Gazprom for natural gas supplies is valid until 2040.

However, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria may be surprised when Ukraine protests against further transmission through their territory. It is known that Kiev does not want to extend the contract with Gazprom. However, Ukraine does not want to leave European gas consumers out in the cold – it also wants to make money from its transmission infrastructure. The president of the Ukrainian Naftogaz, Oleksiy Chernyshov, proposed using it to transmit gas from Azerbaijan.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico raised this variant during his recent visit to Baku. In such a scenario, Bratislava could import Azerbaijani gas, keep part of the raw material for itself, and transfer the rest to other countries.

The decision to change the gas supplier from Russia to Azerbaijan may be made at the end of this year. Bloomberg notes that it may be influenced by the situation on the Ukrainian front.

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