As the days to the cold winter reduce, all eyes are on Europe. This is because even at current levels of gas inventory that stand above the last year by 12%. The survival of the economy and the citizens will be on the edge. The remainder of the same is been given by the governments every day without concrete alternatives in sight.
While the governments prepare themselves for the possibility of the worst winter, there is already an autumn crisis on the horizon as Gazprom ( Russian Gas Supplier) announced surprise maintenance of the pipeline for three days. This type of outage is expected to increase in frequency as the winter approaches. And it will put further strain on the manufacturing units that have already reduced output.
The problem is well known, but the solutions to it are limited and the cost is more than imagined. The easiest and cheapest solution is to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that is already completed but this would result in a political loss for the nations as it would favor Russia and counter the embargo.
Another solution is to buy gas from other producers. Europe is already buying gas from the USA at a momentum never seen, as the supplies in the first half already surpass last year's total. This has not only resulted in a cost increase for Europe but also in the USA.
Other producers like Qatar and Canada are still negotiating and might not see imports from them till 2023 or 2024. But the most unique action taken yet is to import gas from Australia, an import that no European government would have imagined to do and the cost of it is super abnormal high.
While the alternatives are hunted, the coal embargo from Russia has already kicked in and the running nuclear plants are being shut down.
The problem is not only availability but even the cost that has already resulted in power prices in Europe trading at five times the normal for the year ahead.
The only savour, for now, can be Mother Nature which can bring in less severe winter in the region and help surf the wave out.