Russia accused of rigging gas prices to harm UK Covid recovery

18 September 2021, 10:53

Russia's state-owned gas firm is facing an investigation
Russia's state-owned gas firm is facing an investigation. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Russia’s state-owned gas firm is facing an investigation into a spike in the price of natural gas with accusations they have inflated the price to undermine Britain’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gazprom has been accused of “deliberate market manipulation” by a group of 40 MEPs after electricity prices in the UK surged to 11 times above normal levels.

The record high was caused by issues in the gas supply chain and a low power supply from wind farms.

The combination of issues has caused the closure of two major fertiliser plants in the UK, that will lead to CO2 shortages - a bi-product of the process of making fertiliser that is critical for the meat industry.

Read more: Scramble to avoid 'acute' food shortages as CO2 supply plummets

A government spokesman said: “We are monitoring this situation closely and are in regular contact with the food and farming organisations and industry, to help them manage the current situation.” 

Crisis talks aimed at averting food supply shortages in the UK are understood to be under way today.

MEPs said they suspected Russia's Gazprom had acted to push up gas prices.

'We call on the European Commission to urgently open an investigation into possible deliberate market manipulation by Gazprom and potential violation of EU competition rules,' said the letter.

Gazprom said it supplied its customers with gas in full compliance with existing contracts. ”Gazprom delivers gas under consumer requests fully in line with contract obligations,” the firm said in a statement.

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