Some EU countries are pushing forward the idea of refusing Russian hydrocarbon supplies due to Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. Now the EU countries are facing troubles finding replacements for Russian hydrocarbons, especially gas, French newspaper Le Monde diplomatique states.
The article explains that in their effort to stop purchases of Russian hydrocarbons, the European countries faced an obstacle in the form of the established order of things in the oil and gas sector, which can’t be changed quickly.
The EU countries buy their oil and gas from other sources apart from Russia – Norway, the Netherlands, Algeria and others. While they are good as reserve options for buying gas, their limited output makes importing from these countries an unlikely replacement for Russian gas in the years to come, the article said.
“The remote geographic location of other manufacturers, such as Nigeria or Angola, combined with the varying degrees of obsolescence of their capacities, does not allow them to become a reliable replacement for Russia”, Le Monde diplomatique said.
According to Le Monde diplomatique, Algeria struggles to reach its goals on output in accordance with OPEC+ limitations. Libya is still divided between warring factions following an uprising backed by the Western countries, with oil and gas production being constantly interrupted and no political solution to the conflict being in sight.
Algeria and Egypt, in turn, have reserve capacities to ship to the EU in the near future, but are unlikely to use them simply because they don’t want to worsen their relations with Russia, as it’s said in the article. Algeria needs weapons sales from Russia in the context of strained relations with Morocco, while Cairo is worried about food security issues and specifically supplies of wheat from Russia.
The newspaper believes that the only possible strategy for the EU would be strict cooperation between the European countries or the outright centralized management of energy resources. However, it would go against Brussels’ long-term policy of liberalizing the energy market in Europe.