While the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which connects Russia to Europe via the Baltic Sea, has been operating at only 20 percent capacity for the past few days, the old continent is getting into action to diversify its supply sources. A policy that is rejected by the strategy of the big gas companies, which have been very active in the country of Vladimir Putin to exploit the local hydrocarbons. Among them the French group Engie, which is using the growing activity, thanks in particular to rising energy prices, to expand its portfolio and move away from Moscow.
In fact, the most important gas supplier in France, in which the French State holds almost 24%, was pleased this Friday, on the occasion of the presentation of its results, ” significantly reduced ” his ” financial and physical exposure to Russian gas “. While just a few months ago Russia accounted for almost 20% of its supplies, only a ” low residual volume of approx. 4% of gas that Engie bought from Gazprom, said Gazprom’s chief executive Catherine MacGregor.
“It’s entirely within the flexibility of our portfolios, so we’re not worried at all. […] The risk remains at levels that we are regularly exposed to due to changes in temperature, changes in economic activity, etc.,” she said during a phone briefing.
A complete supply failure in Europe would therefore only have a limited impact on Engie, customers would continue to be served, the managing director assured.
strengthening of partnerships
It must be said that for several months the company has been multiplying contracts and increasing its purchases from Norway, Algeria, the Netherlands and even the United States. A way to” participate in efforts to diversify and secure supply ‘ we explain in his ranks, while European countries could miss out on 45 billion cubic meters of gas this winter, with consequences for their economies.
What justifies the signature of Offers harmful to the climate, since Engie is mainly investing in American shale gas. After the French group had to give up a mega contract for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) negotiated with NextDecade in 2020 under pressure from the state shareholder and environmentalists, the French group will eventually buy 1.75 million tons of LNG per year from the future terminal Texas Rio Grande from 2026 and for fifteen years, we learned in early May. A reversal began at the end of March, as Engie had extended a contract with another American company, Cheniere Energy, to purchase more LNG from them than planned, for a period of twenty years.
By solidifying its partnerships with several countries, the group was able to contract additional volumes that “ will make it possible to replace Russian gas and achieve the storage capacities needed in the event of a complete cessation of Russian gas supplies for the winter of 2023-2024.
For this winter Engie still expects a ” decline in demand Catherine MacGregor also co-signed the famous Tribune of Call for Emergency Sobriety, published in JDD, alongside the CEOs of EDF and TotalEnergies. But here, too, the company is confident: “ We have already seen demand drop, which shows that there is some flexibility on the demand side and that if Russian gas were to be disrupted over the winter, we would be able to fully absorb what few percent we have would have been left to find ‘ assured Catherine MacGregor.
Solid results, but many uncertainties
Overall, this diversification policy is based on solid financial results, fueled by rising hydrocarbon prices. In fact, Engie generated a net profit of 5 billion euros in the first half of 2022 compared to 2.3 billion in the previous year, the company announced on Friday. Especially since it had already turned in comfortable profits in 2021 with operating income up more than 40% year over year, again in part due to the price surge seen since the fall.
However, in view of many uncertainties » Both for the development of the markets and for the position of Russia, Engie keeps its forecasts for the year unchanged. The group is thus still aiming for a recurring net result of between 3.8 and 4.4 billion euros for 2022, even if this result were inflated by 0.7 billion. if the market conditions and the price environment [au 30 juin 2022, ndlr] be continued in the second semester “.