Ukraine crisis EXCLUSIVE: US and Europe planning to ‘cut off’ Russia’s gas supply

Exclusive: G7 leaders are expected to sign off on an 'emergency response plan' to assist Ukraine this winter if its neighbour restricts gas supplies

Whitehall Editor

Britain is drawing up plans with the US and other European countries to “disarm” the threat of President Vladimir Putin using Russian gas and oil supplies as “a weapon” against Ukraine and its Eastern European neighbours.

Next month, David Cameron and other G7 leaders are expected to sign off on an “emergency response plan” to assist Ukraine this winter if Russia restricts gas supplies.

At the same time, G7 energy ministers this week agreed a plan to eliminate Europe’s reliance on Russian oil and gas over the longer term and prevent energy security being used as political bargaining chip by the Kremlin.

Russia currently supplies around 30 per cent of all gas consumed within Europe and more than 50 per cent of the gas used by Ukraine.

In 2006, when the Russian state-controlled energy producer Gazprom turned off supplies through its Ukrainian pipeline Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Poland reported gas pressure in their pipelines fell by 30 per cent.

 

While only a small fraction of gas used by the UK comes from Russia, any restriction in supply has a dramatic impact on prices.

Under the G7 proposals, support would be given to build several new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals across Europe, while the US would lift restrictions on the export of shale gas.

At the same time, the EU will invest in new pipelines to move gas from West to East and increase supply routes from North Africa.

Japan is also understood to be prepared to re-start some of its nuclear plants that were mothballed in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Japan is now one of the largest importers of LNG, which has pushed up prices to record levels.

Senior Government sources said the ongoing crisis had “concentrated minds”, particularly in Europe, over the energy threat and said there was for the first time a “clear consensus” to take action.  

Next month, David Cameron and other G7 leaders are expected to sign off on an “emergency response plan” to assist Ukraine this winter if Russia restricts gas supplies Next month, David Cameron and other G7 leaders are expected to sign off on an “emergency response plan” to assist Ukraine this winter if Russia restricts gas supplies (Getty Images) “The diversification of sources and routes for fossil fuels is essential,” the G7 communique stated.

“No country should depend totally on one supplier. Nor should energy be used as a means of political coercion or a threat to security.” 

Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary who represented Britain at the G7 talks in Rome, told The Independent that unless action was taken now Russia would “undoubtedly continue to use energy as a weapon”.

“It is completely unacceptable for President Putin to use Russia’s gas and oil supplies as a weapon to exert control and power over Ukraine – or any other country,” he said.

“But this is not the first time he has done this, so we have to take a stand this time, or he will undoubtedly continue to use energy as a weapon.”

Mr Davey said that the G7 had agreed a process that, over the longer term, would “disarm the threat”. But he added that in the short term there would be a plan in place within the next few weeks to support Ukraine’s energy needs this winter if there is a Russia switch-off of gas.

“We will be drawing up an emergency winter response if Russia threatens its gas supplies, which will be discussed again at the G7 Heads of State meeting next month.”

A Downing Street source confirmed that Mr Cameron “fully backed” the strategy, adding that it was possible that the G7 leader summit in Brussels could “go further”.

“We will be examining the full range of options available,” they added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own