By William Lopes, Staff Writer
In the past few weeks, families and businesses across Europe have started preparing for an energy crisis caused by the cutoff of Russian exports to the greater European area.
Russia was the largest exporter of gas in the world, exporting 241.3 billion cubic meters of gas in 2021 alone, 62 billion more than the runner-up, America. The effects of the trade conflict that arose from the Russia-Ukraine conflicts will unfortunately be prevalent in countries throughout the rest of the continent, as lots of countries rely on Russia’s gasoline and oil reserves for power.
With the loss of power, factories in European countries will be forced to shut down, making the economic impact of the energy crisis even worse.
This absolute chaos that exists within Russia’s supplying of gas to the rest of Europe also influences political decisions within the European Union. European officials use the term “energy blackmail” to describe this situation, as Russia’s goal is to divide the European Union, which is mainly supportive of Ukraine during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It is well-agreed upon that even with the unfortunate dependance on Russian oil, it is still very central to the needs of European countries. With a 100% cutoff of Russian exports such as gas, the entire continent would exist in chaos. The European Union, the second largest economy in the world behind the United States, which produces almost two-thirds of Europe’s entire GDP, would likely fall overnight as many main industries come tumbling down.
Europe has been dependent on Russia’s reserves for the last few decades, as their gas is often categorized by its low price and excellent quality, as well as the unbelievably high supply.
As of October 2022, the price of natural gas is almost at its peak in the last three years, while simultaneously having one of the lowest volumes in the same time span.
With the recent developments in the energy crisis, European countries have come together to mend the situation.
With the shutdown of Nord Stream 1, the biggest oil pipeline in Europe, leaders are currently in talks of creating a new line that would combat Europe’s dependency on Russia, and in turn reduce Russia’s influence on the rest of Europe.
On Saturday, Bulgaria and Greece voted to start construction of a gas pipeline, which is said to give a billion cubic meters of gas to a struggling Bulgaria.
Many leaders are placing a high importance on the development of new gas lines like the Bulgarian-Greek pipeline, including Ursula von Der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, who said, “This pipeline is a game changer. It’s a game changer for Bulgaria and for Europe’s energy security. And it means freedom. It means freedom from dependency on Russian gas.”
On a similar note, the Baltic Pipe pipeline system opened within the last few weeks that allows gas to flow from Norway to Poland.
Even with the looming threat of not being able to keep Europe warm throughout the winter, the European Union has helped the continent adapt to the situation and decrease the significant dependency that smaller European countries have on the superpower to the east, Russia.