Putin agrees to ‘carefully’ increase gas supplies amid price hike

The current hike in gas prices is not beneficial for Russia, and the country could increase gas supplies on the market in a cautious way, President Vladimir Putin said.

“We do not need such speculative excitement,” Xinhua news agency quoted Putin as saying on Wednesday at a meeting on Russia’s energy development, after gas prices in Europe surged to a record high earlier in the day.

The high prices do not meet Russia’s interests and the market needs to be stabilised as soon as possible, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said at the meeting.

Novak, who was also a former Energy Minister, proposed two options that Russia could help overcome the energy crisis in Europe — speedily launching the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany; or supplying additional volumes of gas for trading through the St. Petersburg Stock Exchange.

Putin voiced readiness to explore measures to cool down the market in a way that will not hurt Russia.

“Let’s think about a possible increase in supplies on the market, but we need to do it carefully,” he said.

He urged Russia’s gas industry giant Gazprom to fully comply with contractual obligations of delivering gas through the transmission system of Ukraine, which is not as profitable as bypassing Kiev though, so that no one will be put in a difficult position and Gazprom maintains its credibility as a reliable supplier.