Expert: Russia’s Gas Cutoff has Limited Effect for Now

Poland and Bulgaria had long sought alternatives to Russian energy, but a disruption to the rest of Europe could have major implications.

Russia’s cutoff of natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria will have little immediate impact. (Source: FOTOGRIN/Shutterstock.com)

Russia’s cutoff of natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria will have little immediate impact. (Source: FOTOGRIN/Shutterstock.com)

Russia’s cutoff of natural gas to Poland and Bulgaria was a relatively low-risk way for President Vladimir Putin to punish adversaries with minimal short-term impact, an expert on European natural gas geopolitics told Hart Energy on April 27.

An expansion of the disruption to include the rest of Europe, on the other hand, would have huge implications and necessitate a large-scale response, according to Anna Mikulska, a nonresident fellow in energy studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The countries singled out had already been moving toward alternatives to Russian energy and their contracts with Russian gas giant Gazprom were set to expire in early 2023, Mikulska said. The reason given to halt shipments—that the countries refused to pay in rubles—could apply to any customer because no member of the European Union has agreed to pay for Russian energy directly with rubles.

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Joseph Markman

Joseph Markman, senior editor for Hart Energy, covers markets and provides data analysis for all Hart Energy editorial products.