No empty phrases, no glossing over the situation of Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris, in the current interview with “Spiegel”.
In stark contrast to Austrian and German politicians, Birol says clearly what is now threatening us Europeans in the next three or four weeks – after the oil embargo was imposed on Russia and the unstable gas supplies: “Russia was up to Attack on Ukraine a cornerstone of the global energy system. The world’s largest oil exporter, the world’s largest gas exporter, a leading supplier of coal. This energy crisis is much bigger than the oil crises of the 1970s and 1980s. And it will probably last longer.”
And in the “Spiegel” interview, Fatih Birol says clearly what this failure of Russia as an energy supplier can mean for each and every one of us: “The oil markets could get tight in the summer. When the peak holiday season kicks off in Europe and the US, fuel demand will increase. Then there could be bottlenecks: for example with diesel, petrol or kerosene, especially in Europe.
Europe is particularly affected because we are not only dependent on crude oil imports, but also on imports of oil products. Fatih Birol: “Export countries like China are currently imposing the first export bans; they want to protect their own consumers.”
The International Energy Agency has already sent proposals to European governments as countermeasures, says the IEA director: “Since March they have had a ten-point plan with which they can noticeably reduce oil consumption within a short period of time. These include measures such as car-free Sundays in cities, lower public transport fares and clearer speed limits on motorways.”
But even if these proposals were implemented, the crisis would “last a long time”, says the IEA expert: “I fear it could be difficult in winter. It may well be that gas needs to be rationed, especially in countries that are particularly dependent on Russian supplies.”
As is well known, this also includes Austria. And as reported, the Green Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler failed to ensure a maximum of gas reserves.