MOSCOW, September 7 – PRIME, Dmitry Mudrik. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his speech at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), could not but touch upon issues related to the global energy crisis and the development of the Russian energy industry in the face of unprecedented sanctions against our country. He noted that energy has become only one aspect of the tectonic changes that are now observed in international relations.
If Europe, which has been building its economy and industry for decades on affordable and convenient supplies of raw materials from Russia, no longer needs these advantages over other players, then there are other countries that are ready to cooperate with Moscow, the president said.
“If they think that they don’t need such advantages, well, it doesn’t bother us at all, because the need for energy resources in the world is very large,” he noted at the WEF plenary session and added that Russia is ready to cooperate “with any country”.
“There are a lot of such countries in the world,” the president said.
For many years, Russian pipeline gas has been several orders of magnitude more competitive for European buyers than LNG brought by tankers across the ocean. Now EU political leaders are telling their citizens that the “pipe” can be easily abandoned. But the population does not trust them, they trust their own pockets. And Europe’s pockets have shrunk significantly over the past year, with record double-digit inflation and soaring food prices putting much of the region’s population into “belt-tight” mode. There is nothing comforting in the forecasts either. In particular, the British energy regulator Ofgem announced an increase in the maximum allowable size of electricity bills for consumers by 80% from 1 October. On average, the average household will pay for gas over 3.5 thousand pounds per year (about 300 thousand rubles). In the future, promises the head of the energy regulator Jonathan Brearley, prices will rise even higher.
OIL CEILING PRESSURE
The finance ministers of the G7 countries (Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, the USA, France and Japan) last week confirmed their intention to impose price caps on Russian oil. This item may be included in the new package of anti-Russian sanctions.
Speaking at the plenary session, Putin noted that the West now does not have the situation in which it could dictate its terms to such a large exporter of energy resources as Russia. At the same time, he added that Moscow would be responsible for all of its contractual obligations.
“We will fully fulfill our contractual obligations, but if someone tries to impose something on us, I want to note: those who impose something on us are not in the position today to dictate their will to us. Let them change their minds,” Putin said at the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum.
“We will not supply anything outside the framework of contracts, we will not do anything imposed. We will only have one thing left – as in a well-known Russian fairy tale, to say:” Freeze, freeze the wolf’s tail, “he added.
The President did not ignore the issue of gas supplies via Nord Stream. He called the accusations against Moscow of using this pipeline as an energy weapon nonsense, saying that the gas pipeline could be launched even tomorrow if the repaired turbine is returned to Gazprom, the pumping of raw materials without which is simply technically impossible. Russia is also ready to launch Nord Stream 2, if necessary, it is completely ready for commissioning, and this issue depends only on the licensing authorities of Germany, which stopped the certification of the pipe.
Nord Stream is practically closed now. Everyone says: Russia uses energy weapons. Another nonsense and nonsense. What weapon do we use? We supply as much as our partners need, as much as they place an order, as much as we fulfill. We don’t deliver somewhere in the air, but according to requests,” Putin said.
He added that two other pipelines that were used to export gas from Russia to European countries were blocked by Ukraine and Poland. “Two strings of the gas pipeline (run) through Ukraine – Ukraine took and on its own initiative disconnected one thread under the far-fetched pretext of lack of control over it. They closed it themselves. The second Yamal-Europe pipeline system (laid) through Poland – Poland took it and put it under sanctions this gas pipeline. Did we do it? The Poles closed it down,” the president stressed.
He also drew attention to the dissatisfaction of German citizens with the blocking of Russian energy supplies. The country with the largest population and developed industry in Europe is unhappy with the situation. Accustomed to living in abundance and convenience, the Germans face not only paying high heating bills, but also the risk of unemployment. “There is only one way out – in Germany, we see that now there are demonstrations demanding the inclusion of Nord Stream 2,” the head of state said.
Europe is increasingly talking about the need to resolve the issue of too expensive energy resources. Practically all EU countries suffer from such prices for coal, oil and gas, which the region observes after the introduction of various kinds of sanctions on Russian energy carriers.
In particular, Mohamed Ali, a deputy from the Left Party of Amir Mohamed Ali, during a discussion of the country’s budget in the Bundestag, said that anti-Russian sanctions harm ordinary Russians and the Europeans themselves. In his opinion, something needs to be done about the pressure on Russia. “We criticize the sanctions that hit mainly the Russian population and which in Germany, Europe and the global South do more harm than those they were supposed to harm,” the parliamentarian noted.
At the same time, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki believes that the energy crisis can be overcome through a strong coalition of EU countries. Two steps from the side of the association of countries can reduce prices: reducing the cost of carbon emissions allowances and introducing a pricing mechanism.
However, it is not clear how Morawiecki’s proposal will save Europe: the main reason for the unprecedented energy prices lies not in high emissions payments for enterprises, but lies in the shortage of raw materials. The more the West will apply sanctions against the energy sector of the Russian Federation, the less will be the supply on the global market. And the price flywheel will continue to spin.
Do not forget that in Europe the highest prices for electricity for the population – the main ally of the United States, Great Britain. Here, the price of electricity for households is about 30% higher than in the next most expensive country, Italy. Gas is the most expensive for residents of the Netherlands and Germany.
But the Hungarian authorities, which to the last resisted pressure from colleagues in the European Union and did not support sanctions on Russian energy resources, managed to defend the wallets of their citizens. Budapest has negotiated a number of agreements with Russia to ensure gas supplies at lower prices, so the inhabitants of this country are cheaper than other Europeans.
LOGIC WILL WIN
President Putin believes that although the global economy and the entire system of international relations are now going through difficult times, the logic of cooperation will certainly prevail.
“The modern global economy, the entire system of international relations is going through a difficult period. However, I am sure that the logic of cooperation, matching of potentials and mutual benefit, which are followed in our countries and our friends represented here, will definitely prevail,” he noted and cited a reasonable example using the strengths and competitive advantages of the states of the Asia-Pacific region (APR).
“Creative partnership will open new colossal opportunities for our peoples,” he summed up.
Tectonic changes have taken place in the system of international relations. In particular, the president noted, the role of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region has increased significantly: they have become centers of technological growth and attraction.
“Recently, irreversible, one might say, tectonic changes have taken place in the entire system of international relations. The role of dynamic, promising states and regions of the world has significantly increased. And above all, of course, the Asia-Pacific region. Its countries have become new centers of economic and technological growth, points of attraction for personnel, capital, production,” Putin said.
According to him, the vast majority of Asia-Pacific countries do not accept the destructive logic of sanctions: they adhere to the principle of business relations, mutual benefit and cooperation.