Russia can shut off gas completely, Europe must act now – IEA

Steam rises from cooling towers at coal power plant in RWE, one of Europe’s largest electricity and gas companies in Niederaussem, Germany, 3 March 2016. REUTERS / Wolfgang Rattay

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BRUSSELS, June 22 (Reuters) – Russia could cut off gas to Europe altogether as it seeks to strengthen its political lever in the midst of the Ukraine crisis, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday, adding that Europe should prepare sig nu.

“I do not want to rule out that Russia continues to find various problems here and there and continues to find excuses to further reduce gas supplies to Europe and perhaps even cut it off completely,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement sent to Reuters. .

“This is why Europe needs contingency plans,” Birol added, saying a recent reduction in flows could be an attempt to achieve political leverage ahead of the winter months with greater demand.

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The IEA did not see a complete cut-off as the most likely scenario, he added.

The European Union has sanctioned Russian oil and coal, but has refrained from banning gas imports due to its heavy dependence on supplies from Moscow.

In terms of total energy investment for 2022, the IEA said in a report that $ 2.4 trillion should be invested in the sector this year, including record spending on renewable energy. But it added that it failed to close a supply gap and tackle climate change.

Rising 8% from the previous year, when the pandemic was more severe, investment includes large increases in the electricity sector and efforts to strengthen energy efficiency, its annual investment report published on Wednesday said.

Investments in oil and gas, in addition to putting back efforts to achieve the climate goals, could not meet the growing demand if the energy systems were not converted to cleaner technology, it says.

“Today’s oil and gas spending is caught between two visions of the future: it’s too high for a road adapted to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C, but not enough to meet rising demand in one scenario. “where governments are sticking to today’s political attitudes and failing to live up to their climate promises,” the agency said.

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Reporting by Noah Browning Editing by Bradley Perrett and Mark Potter

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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