Russian Threat to Cut Off Gas Sends European Prices Surging 30%


Russia’s threat to cut off gas to Europe in retaliation for sanctions sent prices surging more than 30%, as the European Union scrambles to find alternatives.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warned late Monday that Russia could halt flows along the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, though he said no decision has been taken yet. Meanwhile, the EU is seeking to curb its dependence on Russian gas by almost 80% this year.

The developments highlight the bloc’s urgency to wean itself off gas from Russia, its biggest supplier. Europe was already dealing with an energy crunch before Russia attacked Ukraine last month. The invasion has sent commodities prices across the board soaring to record levels.

It’s also forcing companies to redesign the way they do business — and take massive impairments. Germany’s Uniper SE, one of the biggest buyers of Russian gas, said Monday it won’t sign any new contracts with the country for long-term supply.

Benchmark Dutch gas futures traded 6.6% higher at 242.285 euros per megawatt-hour by 9:34 a.m. in Amsterdam after earlier climbing 32%. The U.K. equivalent rose 5.2%.