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IEA chief sees energy shortage in Europe next winter

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BERLIN (AP) — The head of the International Energy Agency said Thursday that Europe should be able to cope with a natural gas shortage in the coming months, though the continent could face a major energy crisis next winter. Is.

Fatih Birol said that, barring unforeseen events, “Europe will experience economic and social problems this winter due to efforts to get rid of Russian gas and the huge rise in energy costs caused by the war.” in Ukraine.

“Next winter will be harder than this winter,” he said.

Birol cited the fact that Russia’s gas supply to Europe could end completely next year, while China’s demand for liquefied natural gas is booming as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the IEA predicted that new gas capacity coming online in 2023 would be the lowest in two decades.

“(This) is why Europe needs to prepare today for next year,” Birol said, adding that solidarity between European countries was important.

Speaking at an energy symposium in Berlin hosted by the German government, the IEA chief said Russia can also expect some of the costly consequences of the row with European energy buyers over Ukraine.

He said that before the war 75% of Russian gas exports and 55% of oil went to Europe, Moscow had to find new markets for its production.

Birol called it “completely wrong” to assume that Russia would only supply Asia, noting that it would take a decade to build pipelines across Siberia and that oil tankers would take longer to reach customers in the East than in Europe. takes ten times as much time.

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In addition, the departure of specialist oil and gas technology companies from Russia due to sanctions means production at challenging extraction sites is likely to decline.

“Russia is about to lose the energy battle massively,” Birol said, adding that the IEA has calculated that Moscow will lose about $1 trillion in revenue by 2030 because of the war in Ukraine.

Birol noted that the energy crisis is also having a serious impact on developing countries and said it would help accelerate the transition to alternatives to fossil fuels.

“When I look at energy security, climate commitments and industrial policy drivers (insurance efforts), I am optimistic that the current energy crisis will be a turning point in the history of energy policy,” he said.

Still, this would require a fivefold increase in clean energy investment compared to today, Birol said.

Frank Jordan, The Associated Press

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