As Europe and Asia scramble for natural oil and natural gas and energy prices spiral out of control, Vladimir Putin is likely plotting his next geopolitical chess move.
Last week, the Russian president chided European governments for not securing long-term natural gas contracts that would have favoured his country’s producers such as Gazprom PJSC, calling the EU’s reliance on spot prices a ‘mistake’.
“After all, this is not like trading in watches, underpants, or ties, or cars; it is not even like oil, which can be produced and stored anywhere, including in tankers, waiting for the market situation to clear up. Gas is different,” Putin said in a televised meeting according to a translation by VGTRK , the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company.
Natural gas prices in Europe have hit record levels in recent months, as lower Russian gas exports, a lack of wind power, COVID-related supply chain and labour issues, and underinvestment in fossil fuels conspired to turn an energy crunch into a full-blown economic crisis reverberating across the world.