Russia accused of rigging gas prices to hamper Covid recovery in UK

September 18, 2021, 10:53

The Russian state gas company is under investigation.

Image: Alamy

The Russian state gas company is under investigation into a spike in the price of natural gas, accused of inflating the price to undermine Britain’s recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.

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

The record high was caused by problems in the gas supply chain and poor power supply to wind farms.

The combination of problems has resulted in the closure of two large fertilizer factories in the UK, which will lead to shortages of CO2 – a byproduct of the fertilizer manufacturing process that is essential for the meat industry.

Read more: Scrambling to avoid ‘acute’ food shortages as CO2 supply collapses

A government spokesperson said: “We are closely monitoring this situation and are in regular contact with food and agriculture organizations and industry, to help them deal with the current situation.”

Crisis talks aimed at averting food shortages in the UK are said to be underway today.

MEPs said they suspected the Russian group Gazprom of acting to push up gas prices.

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

Gazprom declared that it supplied gas to its customers in full compliance with existing contracts. “Gazprom delivers gas on demand by consumers, in accordance with contractual obligations,” the company said in a statement.

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