Cover Osteuropa 10-12/2021

In Osteuropa, 10-12/2021

Dependent or Not Dependent?
Natural Gas as an Economic Good, a Means of Pressure, and an Instrument for Sanctions

Heiko Pleines

Deutsche Fassung


The economies of the EU and Russia are closely intertwined through the trade in natural gas. The transport of liquid gas in tankers, the liberalisation of the natural gas market, and the addition of new interconnectors to the pipeline network in Europe make it possible to react to a suspension of natural gas supplies. Nevertheless, a disruption of delivery would have serious consequences for both sides. Therefore, Moscow is not considering natural gas as a means of leverage in the current conflict, nor is Brussels seriously considering an embargo on imports of natural gas from Russia. A ban on the operation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, on the other hand, would only incur low costs, but would also have little effect. This pipeline only creates another transportation route without changing the amount of natural gas purchased.

(Osteuropa, 10-12/2021, pp. 183–192)