Webinar on 'Can Europe live without Russian gas supplies? Can Russia live without European gas purchases?'

06 April 2022

Elisabetta Cornago, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for European Reform
John Lough, Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House
Katja Yafimava, Senior Research Fellow, Gas Research Programme, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies
Chair: Ian Bond, Director of Foreign Policy, Centre for European Reform

The war in Ukraine has raised already-high gas prices in Europe even further. If deliveries of Russian gas and oil are disrupted by Western sanctions or Russian retaliation, or if damage to pipelines crossing Ukraine reduces the flow, the energy crisis risks creating economic and social challenges across the EU. But it may also have significant negative effects on Russia.

Since the war began, the European Commission has suggested that the EU can reduce its imports of Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of this year, and stop them entirely by 2027. But European leaders have so far shown themselves reluctant to sanction Russian energy exports, despite the financial resources that flow to Russia as a result. Meanwhile, the Russian regime is trying to frighten Europe with the threat that it may cut off the gas supply. It has also announced that ‘unfriendly countries’ will have to pay for gas in roubles, which would force the West to relax its sanctions in order to buy roubles from the Central Bank of Russia. 

This webinar looks at how the EU could best cut imports of oil and gas from Russia rapidly, as well as the political problems that that might pose for the countries most dependent on Russian gas (and especially for Germany).

It also considers the risk that Russia might pre-empt any EU plans by cutting off gas and oil supplies to Europe. What would the economic consequences be for Russia itself, if, in addition to existing sanctions, it deprived itself of the revenues from these sales? Would Russia run out of money before Europe froze, or vice versa? Would such a move end any ambitions Russia might have to shift from selling hydrocarbons to Europe to supplying hydrogen? And could Russia find alternative markets for its oil and gas, including China, if it stopped selling to the EU?