The role of natural gas in the Russia-Ukraine conflict

Russia and Ukraine's conflict over natural gas explained
Russia and Ukraine's conflict over natural gas explained

Natural gas is one of several commodities affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Prices on the Dutch TTF hub, a European benchmark for natural gas trading, more than tripled between February 16 and March 7 before pulling back.

But despite being at the center of the largest military conflict in Europe since World War II, Russia's natural gas continues to flow through Ukraine to the rest of the continent.

"If you're not familiar with European gas you think there's a horrible invasion and horrible war going on and the gas is flowing, generally and also through Ukraine as if nothing were happening, it does seem strange," said Laurent Ruseckas, an energy analyst at IHS Markit. "But the fact of the matter is that Russia, as we've seen more recently, is taking a different approach with European gas."

The European Union receives about 40% of its natural gas from Russian pipelines and about a quarter of that flows through Ukraine. Germany gets roughly half of its natural gas from Russia.

"What's happening is that the Russians are making a lot of money with it," said Georg Zachmann, a senior fellow at Bruegel. "They are making hundreds of millions of dollars every day with the gas that they are selling to the Germans and the Europeans. The Europeans on the other hand are highly dependent on Russian gas for filling their storages."

At the start of the conflict Germany froze its participation in the Nord Stream 2, a 760 mile long gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea connecting Russia to Germany's coast. The EU announced plans to reduce demand for Russian gas by two-thirds and make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels by 2030.

And the U.S. along with its partners imposed economic sanctions targeting Russia's financial institutions and members of its elites.

So what role does natural gas play in the conflict with Ukraine and how are Europe and the U.S. impacted? Watch the video to learn more.

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