US trying to force Russia out of EU gas market – Serbia
The controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline is still not certified and in operation because of pressure from Washington, which is trying to force Russia out of the EU gas market, the President of Serbia claimed on Sunday.
Aleksandar Vučić’s comments came just three days after he agreed to extend a gas deal with Russia that will save Belgrade around €1 billion ($1.12 billion), according to his calculations.
“The Russians have a problem that they are not talking about,” he told TV channel Pink. “Namely, there are attempts to politically squeeze them out so that they do not have gas in Europe.”
According to Vučić, the EU is short of 70 billion cubic meters of gas. Fifty-five billion of that could be provided by Nord Stream 2, if it is allowed to operate, he claimed.
Despite numerous packages of American sanctions, the controversial pipeline was completed last month. It stretches from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany, allowing Moscow to send gas without transiting other countries. It would also make the process less reliant on third parties, thereby lowering the price. According to Washington, however, the pipeline threatens Europe’s “energy security.” Some have claimed the US is motivated by its own desire to sell liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the continent.
Due to issues with the German regulator and its insistence that Nord Stream 2 AG create a German subsidiary, the pipeline’s certification has been delayed. Once the formalities are completed, it could be turned on next year.
The contract for gas supplies from Russia to Serbia has been in force since 2012 and expires at the end of 2021. The price, set at $270 per 1,000 cubic meters, is considerably lower than the current spot price and has been extended for an extra six months on the same terms. Last month, LNG prices in Europe hit a record high of $1,900 per 1,000 cubic meters.