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Shutdown of Russian gas: what immediate consequences for France and Europe?


Russian gas is currently at the heart of a battle between European countries and Vladimir Putin. Thursday, March 31, the leader of the Kremlin recalled that Russia demanded payment in rubles for its gas. What the Europeans refuse, even if France and Germany have assured that they are working on a potential stoppage of deliveries.

The battle for gas is stepping up a notch. Vladimir Poutine had asked last week that the Russian gas be paid in rubles and well he wishes that it is effective from this Friday April 1st. “Unfriendly” countries, as they call them, will have to pay in rubles from accounts in Russia or risk “being deprived of supplies”, he said.

Towards a problem next winter?

No country plans to pay in rubles and all point to commercial contracts with Gazprom which provide for payments in euros or dollars. For now, Europe is not giving in to the risk of running out of gas. And that’s why the Twenty-Seven are looking for other sources of supply at the same time.

But is this a bluff on the part of Vladimir Putin? It is possible, the purchase of Russian gas by the Europeans today constitutes one of its main sources of financing. For Fabien Chon√©, a specialist in energy issues, the problem of a possible stoppage of Russian gas imports would arise next winter. “We will get through the summer without any problem. But what is important to understand is that there will be impacts in the field of gas, but also on electricity consumption and perhaps even more on the electrical system next winter”, he explains at the microphone of Europe 1.

“The electricity system in France is very dependent on Russian gas”

But above all, he warns about an area that could pose a problem: “The electrical system, especially in France, is very dependent on gas. And obviously, we have a lot of nuclear production. But because of electric heating, we also need gas power plants to be able to pass the winter electricity peak”, he explains before adding that “for residential consumers, in any case, there is a big difference between the gas and electricity supply and that ‘you can turn off the electricity to the authority consumer. It’s not possible in gas because the moment you re-supply them, you don’t know if your gas equipments are on or not, so there are big risk of explosion.

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