Price cap on gas in the EU, explosions on gas pipelines and Russian terrorism

December 22, 2022

Russia continues to terrorise Ukraine and the European Union on the gas front. Explosions and fires at gas pipelines have already become a norm. But even here, the Russian Federation missed.

On December 20, depressurisation occurred on the Russian segment of the main gas pipeline "Urengoi — Pomary — Uzhgorod" in the Russian region of Chuvashia, which led to an explosion and fire.

The explosion occurred during construction and installation works, which, according to the Russian agency "RIA Novosti", was carried out by the company "Gazprom Transgaz Nizhny Novgorod".

It is no secret that the Urengoy — Pomary — Uzhhorod gas pipeline is the only route for the supply of Russian gas from Siberia to the European Union via the territory of Ukraine. The pipeline crosses the Russian-Ukrainian border near the Sudzha station in Kursk region of the Russian Federation.

Even this fact suggests that this incident was most likely staged by the Kremlin.

Enemy motives can be traced as follows.

The first motive is to try to create problems for Ukraine in terms of gas transportation for Ukrainian consumers, especially generation, and thereby expand the toolkit for blocking the capacities of our energy system.

But the aggressor miscalculated: we will manage. The enemy must have also understood this, because at the time of publication of this column, there were no changes in Russian gas supply to the Ukrainian gas transportation network for further transportation to European consumers.

The second motive is to whip up gas prices in the EU, before the price cap of 180 euros per MWh (roughly equal to $2,100 per thousand cubic meters of gas), which was adopted by the European Union member states on December 19 and applies to exchange trading, comes into force on February 15, 2023.

Here, the enemy expects to weaken our allies as much as possible financially and to whip up inflation, before price restrictions are introduced. For example, according to the German statistical office (Destatis), in November 2022, industrial inflation hit 28.2%, as was officially reported by the Federal Statistical Office, and in September, the historical peak of this indicator was reached, previously recorded only in 1949.

In this context, it is highly important to pay attention to the price cap value and the period of its validity. On the one hand, such a decision is a step forward, because a month ago a price limit of 250 euros per MWh, which is equivalent to $2,600 per thousand cubic meters of natural gas, was discussed. But on the other, in 2022, only forty trading days the European market saw natural gas exchange quotations exceeding the ceiling of 180 euros per MWh.

Therefore, it would be appropriate to improve the mechanism of limiting gas prices in the EU by introducing three amendments.

The first amendment is to make the price cap even tougher and peg it at the level of 130 euros per MWh, which is equivalent to $1,400 per thousand cubic meters of natural gas.

The second amendment is to implement the price cap immediately, without the option of inertial price cap setting based on three-day indicatives.

The third amendment is to expand the price cap to all settlement mechanisms, because under the current model, there is a risk of a sharp decrease in exchange contracts and an increase in the share of off-market pricing.

If the mechanism of price limitation in the EU is not improved, then there is a rather high risk of recurrence of staged incidents at gas transportation facilities.

It is important to note that the concept of international terrorism was invented by the former head of foreign intelligence of the Soviet Union, Alexander Sakharovsky, who justified his criminal views as follows: "In today's world, it is impossible to use nuclear weapons, under such circumstances, terrorism should be the main tool of influence." Apparently, this is the approach adopted by the Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin.

In this context, it may also be suggested that the Russian horde has prepared an alternative proposal for the EU: Russian gas supply via Belarus. This might be discussed by the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko and Putin on December 19.

One way or another, terrorism can only be defeated by the unity of the civilised world, modern weapons for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and hardware of Ukraine’s energy system.

We ask and wait. We will win!


Maksym Bielawski

Leading Expert, Energy Programmes

Born in 1986 in Zhytomyr oblast


Zhytomyr State Technological University (2008)

Ph.D in Technical Science (2010)

Ivano-Frankivsk National Technical University of Oil and Gas (2012)

Author of 17 patents and 100 scientific works

Work Experience:

2008 – 2011 — Operator of Gas Infrastructure Units, Controller of Gas Transmission System in Rivne Division of PJSC "Ukrtransgas"

2011 – 2017 — Leading Engineer, Deputy Head of Press-Service, Head of Public Relation Department of PJSC "Ukrtransgas"

2017 – 2018 — HR Director of PJSC "Maine Gas Pipelines of Ukraine", Advisor to the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine

2021 — Director of Integrated Communications of NJSC "Naftogaz of Ukraine"