What if Russia shut off the gas…?

As we know, the European Union is dependent on Russian gas and Putin is toying with energy as a weapon of war. Imagine he suddenly decides to turn off the tap. What direct consequences would that have?

Belgium

Belgium is the European country that is the least dependent on Russian gas (about 6% of our consumption). But it would be necessary to help certain eastern countries which are 100% dependent there and 60% dependent on Germany. In m3, Germany consumes 45.84 billion and Italy 20.8 billion Russian gas per year. In comparison, gas consumption in Belgium is 17 billion m3 per year.

This is the main problem: the Union consumes so much gas that it is impossible for it to find any real alternatives to the Russian supplier. Especially since he was always loyal and serious in business. Qatar? Norway? United States ? Temporary solutions that cannot plug the holes in our consumption. As President Macron reiterated this week, Europe must regain its energy independence. And if the first thing to do is to consume less, it probably won’t be done in a day…

Energy shock and blackout

So what is there to fear if Russia turns off the faucet? Does inflation get worse than what we know about the price of energy. A real price explosion. After this worst-case scenario, we must also expect power outages and the temporary closure of factories. In short, at blackout so feared.

The energy shock would be felt in our wallets and in our everyday lives. According to a simulation by the European Central Bank, reducing our gas consumption by just 10% would equate to a loss of 0.7% of GDP. With current growth, we would avoid a recession. But that’s only about 10% of our consumption…

Not interested in turning off the faucet

However, this worst-case scenario is not likely. Because if Europe is dependent on Russian gas, Russia is dependent on European demand. Gas exports would account for 15% of Russia’s GDP.

It’s simple, since the beginning of the war and economic sanctions, supplies of Russian gas to Europe have… accelerated. According to Bloomberg calculations, every day Russia sells the equivalent of 622 million euros worth of oil, gas and metals to the European Union, the US and Great Britain combined.

In plain language, this means that the West is financing the Russian war in Ukraine. Ubuesque situation, if any. The problem is that halting these transactions would adversely affect the global economy berserk. Nobody has an interest in the game changing. On the Russian side, alongside lawsuits from its aggrieved customers, Gazprom would only suffer unprecedented losses. The European Union is the main market for Russian exports. Don’t feel like turning off the tap? At least that’s what the experts say…

Leave a Comment