Iran offers EU gas lifeline amid fears Russia could CUT supplies and send prices soaring

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Javad Owji said on Monday that Iran could supply the East and West with gas amid concerns supplies coming from Moscow could be slashed. Russia, which supplies around 40 percent of Europe’s gas, looks poised to cut exports in response to harsh sanctions from the West if it invades Ukraine. It also comes as Iran joined talks in Doha, Qatar, with other major exporters of the energy source to discuss a response to skyrocketing prices.

Natural gas prices are almost double the level they traded at in late 2020 and, should Russia slash more supplies, prices would be expected to soar further.

The 11-member Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) account for 70 percent of the world’s total gas reserves.

Russia, Qatar, Libya, Algeria and Nigeria are also members.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin was invited to talks, he is not expected to attend.

Mr Putin has been blamed for the record gas prices reached in December, surpassing even October records, after Gazprom sent gas flowing through the Yamal-Europe pipeline in reverse.

The gas, which is usually sent west, has been diverted to this east since December and remains in reverse.

And with the EU warning of “massive economic sanctions”, there are fears Russia could slash more gas flowing through its vast network of pipelines.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that Moscow is prepared to re-route supplies to other markets if its energy companies get targeted by Western sanctions.

He said: “Any export curbs would result in rising prices. And if such restrictions are to be applied then increases in prices should largely offset such curbs.”

But Iran does not seem to approve of Western sanctions on Russia either.

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Thierry Bros, a gas expert, said it is likely the forum will urge to Europe to sign long-term contracts to secure a guaranteed supply.

He noted that the producing countries will need to make huge investments to increase their output.

But the EU has been hesitant to sign contracts of 10, 15 or 20 years.

Andreas Krieg, a security expert from King’s College London, said: “It would be quite an opportunity if Qatar could use the forum to offer their good offices to the United States to mediate between them and Russia.”



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