Britain doomed to winter of discontent, warns Ukrainian gas king


Mr Vitrenko said that the argument that Gazprom cannot produce more contradicts the stated justification of the Baltic gas pipeline. “If that were the case, you wouldn’t need Nord Stream 2 at all. Russia can easily increase production, not overnight maybe, but I remember times when the daily flows through Ukraine were three times larger, ”he said.

Whatever the commercial arguments, no major European state is likely to take Moscow’s word at face value after the invasion of Crimea. Gazprom has long served as an instrument for the Kremlin’s geostrategy. The new Turk Stream infrastructure has dual military use, with a sonar surveillance system installed.

Many in Europe clearly want to secure gas regardless of the political price. They are pushing for immediate pre-certification flows through Nord Stream 2 before the industrial heartland of the Ruhr Valley begins to shut down and halt the economic recovery.

But events in Washington have once again intruded. The US House of Representatives passed a new amendment last week calling for the reimposition of sanctions. If the Senate follows suit, the White House may be forced to act. “No one will buy gas from Gazprom through Nord Stream 2,” Vitrenko said.

Mr Vitrenko said the mixture of tightening US politics, a Polish legal challenge within the EU and Mr Putin’s behavior are now conspiring to block the pipeline for the foreseeable future. The Greens could soon be part of the German government. They want to completely remove Nord Stream 2.

“It is now very unlikely that this will happen. German regulators know that would be just too noticeable. They have a rule of law in their country, and others care about it, so they can’t just ignore it, ”he said.

It could be a long, painful winter for Europe and the UK. Utilities are frantically turning to biomass, booster stations and coal where they can, and potentially even to substituting oil in power plants. “Everything comes into play at these prices,” said Vitrenko.

In the end, it may be necessary to ration prices, a natural remedy in energy markets. “There are a lot of industries that are dying out, as we are seeing with companies in the UK. Households adjust their consumption. These will be emergency measures from European governments, ”said Vitrenko

How long will this impasse last? ” Frankly I do not know. It is difficult to predict what is in Mr Putin’s head, ”he said.

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