What can be said here - the reports of world news agencies that the domestic Gazprom Export has stopped offering gas for delivery in the western direction for the next year, 2022 through the Electronic Trading Platform, did not mean that they caught European markets by surprise.

In the current situation, this was still a completely expected and logical decision.

The really big European players understood everything perfectly well, so they took care of themselves in advance - having traditionally good relations with Gazprom, it was, in general, not difficult. But we must pay tribute, the "demonstration of intention" still caused a rather serious, albeit still "quiet" panic, primarily among professional traders. Who now, it seems, too, all slowly began to understand that the jokes, apparently, are over. And that is why they began to treat what was happening not with political, but with purely practical seriousness and efficiency.

Because there has not been such a serious pre-crisis situation in the European energy sector for quite a long time. And the point here is not even that, as the American Bloomberg writes, "European traders are on the brink," as they do not have enough time to fill their vaults before the beginning of winter, when demand will rise sharply. The problem is much more serious and more systemic than it might seem at first glance even to an interested observer, but who sees the system only at the entrance to a crisis.

And so for some reason, it is the Russian political community that annoys us - although it doesn’t concern us very much, but, I agree, it’s completely stupid precisely based on German national interests - the decision of the Supreme Land Court in Dusseldorf, which rejected the complaint of Nord Stream 2AG against the ruling The German regulator, on the other hand, did not take the project out of the EU gas directive, and it hardly became the real reason for the unfolding and, it seems, have already become truly formidable events: a lot of honor for European legal hookers.

In the best case for oneself, this court decision can only be a trigger, a kind of trigger for the implementation of an unfavorable scenario.

But nothing more.

However, let's go in order.

It's simple.

At the end of last week, according to the London stock exchange ICE, the price of September gas futures according to the index of the most liquid European hub, the Dutch TTF, rose to $ 582 per 1,000 cubic meters.

m. During trading at the peaks, it generally reached a record $ 585.6.

And although by the close of trading on Friday it had slightly decreased (to $ 576.3 per 1,000 cubic meters), the trend, as they say, is obvious.

No, no one argues, any volatility is possible there, prices can fluctuate in any direction, even just on expectations and news.

But the price trend itself is quite understandable and systemic, and in general it cannot please European consumers, as they say, “on the ground”.

And all at once, from an ordinary consumer to the more large industrial concern - European industry is generally quite energy-intensive.

And this is somehow rather stupid not to understand.

At the same time, the point here is not only that gas is traded on European hubs somewhere in the region of absolute historical maximums. Much worse is something else, namely the record low level of reserves in UGS facilities in northwestern Europe, to which is added uncertainty about Russian supplies via "traditional routes" (more on that below), as well as the timing of certification and launch of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. to make it clear: at present, the total volume of gas reserves in storage is at a record low level - about 58%, which looks quite outrageous against the background of almost 90% occupancy in the past, which was also quite a “crisis” year.

And in such circumstances, when the situation on European energy markets, as they say, balances on the verge of uncertainty (and market participants are on the verge of a nervous breakdown), the decision of the Supreme Regional Court of Dusseldorf, of course, neither optimism nor confidence in the future of the European consumer does not add at all.

And quite the opposite is true.

Now for the "traditional routes".

Just to remind: Gazprom has not recently started booking the volumes of pumping through the Polish Yamal-Europe pipeline for the next year.

Neither annual nor quarterly auctions.

No, this does not mean at all that the "Polish route" is guaranteed to be empty, Gazprom is quite capable of booking volumes on a monthly basis.

But the signal, you see, is being sent quite serious and does not allow any additional interpretation.

As well as the refusal of additional pumping through the Ukrainian GTS, notorious for its bitter hopelessness.

For its own mistakes and stupidity, "political Europe", at least its "democratic-Atlanticist" part, is now asked to pay on its own.

The Russians are no longer going to habitually correct this outrage at their own expense.

There is no need to invent anything: we were told quite openly that the main goal of these political forces was to oust the “undemocratic molecules of Russian gas” that threaten Europe through pipelines.

Replacing them with the freedom-loving shale LNG.

And yes, everyone understands perfectly well that the decision of the court in Dusseldorf is simple, if you will, inertial, and therefore, for the Europeans themselves, it is defiantly unpleasant.

For the situation has radically changed and the sought-after "free energy raw materials" not only did not come to the Old Continent, but it will definitely not come in the nearest historical perspective, there is even no hope.

But these are no longer our problems.

Simply because if in conditions of a systemic energy shortage, without having an alternative, you block part of the supply route, then this is a problem, excuse me, by no means a supplier. Moreover, his head now hurts much more from the declared turn to domestic markets: everyone remembers very well about “Putin’s gasification”, but you just calculate what total investments there should be. And then what are the additional guaranteed volumes of supplies. There is something to do, in short, besides, you also need to load your own storages, everything is not so simple there either. It will be much more difficult for consumers in this situation, and besides, from the point of view of the same market, you will not get into Gazprom: it strictly fulfills all its obligations, especially long-term ones.

And the actual internal European issues were proposed to be solved by the Europeans themselves.

And you know, something unobtrusively tells me that in this kind of circumstances, they will simply certainly decide.

It is no coincidence that the same large energy concerns of Europe, on which the very existence of European energy markets in their current form directly depends, are already expressing public solidarity to Gazprom: footage of the recent joint press conference by Alexey Miller and OMV AG Chairman of the Management Board Rainer Seele, on which the Austrian, in general, did not particularly restrain himself, were in this regard quite indicative and eloquent.

And here everything is logical, although the situation, in general, is not at all a joke.

Moreover, although the Europeans still have time to resolve it, even under the most favorable scenario, it will probably inevitably be a very peculiar and quite serious stress test for European markets.

Which in Russia in general and in Gazprom in particular will undoubtedly be watched quite closely, but kind of a little from the outside.

That is, we are a rather interested and benevolent fan here.

But still, whatever one may say, this is not our fight.

The point of view of the author may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.