Oil Prices Edge Higher As Russia Cuts Gas Supply to Europe
Reports say Brent, the global benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s oil, was trading 1.72% higher at $106.96 a barrel at 12.36pm UAE time yesterday. West Texas Intermediate, the gauge that tracks US crude, was up 1.82% at $98.46 a barrel.
Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom said on Monday that it would be further cutting gas flows through Nord Stream 1, Russia’s biggest gas pipeline to Europe, as it waits for the delivery of a vital turbine after repairs.
The National quoted the company saying it needs to halt the operation of a Siemens gas turbine at a compressor station, which is expected to reduce the gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 33 million cubic metres from July 27, which is 20% of the total capacity of the pipeline.
Incidentally, Russia accounts for over 40% of natural gas supply to European, the supplies being a crucial lifeline for the European continent.
Moscow has “tightened the supply through Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany”, Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avatrade, said. “Going into winter, gas supply for Europe will be the major issue as Kremlin is determined to play the tit-for-tat game … as the EU has imposed sanctions on Russia, Putin will use the gas card to punish the EU.”
Reports said prices declined in the earlier sessions of trading on Monday as recessionary fears grew, but rose later on supply concerns brought on by the ongoing Ukraine conflict.
“The reason that we see upticks in oil prices is two folds: firstly, it is the decline in the dollar index, and secondly, the signs of a tight supply of physical crude,” Mr. Aslam said.
The US Federal Reserve is expected to approve another big interest rate rise this week to tame surging inflation, which is at a 40-year high in the country as a result of the pandemic, rising oil prices and the Ukraine conflict.
The move is expected to impact fuel demand in the world’s largest economy. “Russia remains the wild card in the energy space, supporting prices, a situation unlikely to change anytime soon,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst of Asia Pacific at Oanda, said.