Following claims made by Rome that the Russian state-backed business Gazprom was peddling “lies” over a series of cutbacks, Italy’s Eni said that it would only get fifty percent of the gas it sought on Friday from Gazprom.
According to a statement released by Eni, “Gazprom has declared that it would provide just 50 percent of what is asked (with actual supplied volumes practically identical with regard to the levels delivered yesterday),” resulting in a decrease in supplies for the third day in a row.
There are a number of nations in Europe, like Italy and Germany, that get a significant portion of their natural gas supply from Russia.
In the midst of escalating tensions with the West over the conflict in Ukraine, Russia has ratcheted up the energy pressure by cutting off gas supplies to the continent. This decision has been criticised as being “political” by both Italy and Germany.
Gazprom has said that the limitations in supplies via the Nord Stream pipeline are the consequence of maintenance work; nevertheless, officials from the EU think that Moscow is penalising supporters of Ukraine, where Russian military began an invasion in February.
Thursday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi dismissed Gazprom’s justifications, stating that the reasons “we are informed, are technical.”
“We, along with Germany and others, feel that these statements are false.”
Draghi said that the state-owned Gazprom was utilising the gas supply for “political goals,” while Gazprom has stated that Moscow has every right to play by its own rules regarding the cutbacks.
Italy has been looking for alternate supplies of gas in order to lessen its dependency on gas from Russia, and it has also promised to spend more money in renewable energy.
Draghi said that the shortage of natural gas, which drives up costs, “has implications, not immediately on consumption, but on hoarding.”
The member states of the EU have been working feverishly to wean themselves off of energy supplied by Russia, but there is a lack of consensus over whether or not to impose an embargo on natural gas imports from Moscow since certain member states are very dependent on Moscow’s supply.