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Russian gas: France could do without it "in three, four years"believes the boss of Engie

As the European Union has been looking for alternatives to reduce its energy dependence on Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine, the chairman of French energy giant Engie, Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, said on Saturday May 7 that France might be able to “eventually” do without Russian gas. “In the long term, yes. The question is in what term”, he declared at the microphone of France Inter, before indicating that France was “probably able to reduce in a very significant way” its dependence on the Russian gas within “three or four years”.

Its routing, in fact, relies on a whole infrastructure network (gas pipelines, liquefaction facilities, etc.) that is complex to put in place, said Mr. Clamadieu. Warning at the end of March that France would need Russian gas “in the medium or long term”, and deferring the decision to European governments, the French energy giant has gradually changed its position on the question.

In the event of a sudden interruption: probably just as sudden adjustments

“If we had to face a brutal interruption, it is a scenario which is much more difficult, and will require adjustments which will probably also be brutal”, however warns Mr. Clamadieu. Seeking to diversify its supplies, the group signed a 15-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply contract at the beginning of May with the American NextDecade, even if a postponement of LNG will not make it possible to obtain “quantities enough to replace” Russian gas for now.

The European Union has sanctioned Russia in five successive rounds of sanctions since the start of the war in Ukraine at the end of February. It decided to stop its coal purchases and turned to suppliers in the United States to offset a third of its Russian gas supply, estimated in total at 150 billion m3. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, European imports of gas, oil and coal have brought in 44 billion euros for the Kremlin, indicates a study by Crea, a think tank based in Finland. “The reality of the moment is that there is a lot of gas arriving in Europe, the gas contracts, including Russian ones, are rather at very high levels of delivery”, underlined the president of Engie.

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