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The Wall Street Journal: European natural-gas prices surge as Russia sanctions energy companies

Natural-gas prices in Europe shot higher Thursday, a day after Russia unveiled a set of sanctions on energy companies operating on the continent that could further threaten supply.

Among the companies sanctioned by Moscow were former subsidiaries of Russian state gas giant Gazprom PJSC in the European Union and the Polish owner of a key stretch of pipeline. The restrictions could reduce Europe’s flexibility to import Russian gas through routes beyond Ukraine, though the full implications on gas supplies weren’t yet clear, analysts said.

One target of the Russian sanctions was Gazprom Germania GmbH, a major Gazprom unit that the German government took control of last month. German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Thursday that while some subsidiaries of Gazprom Germania have stopped receiving Russian gas as result of the sanctions, the companies had found non-Russian alternatives.

“The situation is escalating, insofar that the use of energy as a weapon is being realized,” Mr. Habeck said. The Russian move cuts gas deliveries to Germany by 10 million cubic meters a day, or around 3% of annual Russian gas deliveries to the country, Mr. Habeck said. These volumes can be sourced from alternative suppliers on the gas market, he said.

Still, Mr. Habeck urged the public to reduce gas consumption to prepare in case Russia cuts off gas exports. “Save, save, save would be extremely helpful to us this year,” he said.

An expanded version of this report can be found on WSJ.com

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