Russia’s security service said it thwarted a planned terror attack on infrastructure that supplies energy to Turkey and Europe, raising concerns over supplies in the region.
According to a statement on its website on Thursday, the Federal Security Service “prevented an attempt by the Ukrainian special services to commit a sabotage and terroristic act at the facility of the oil and gas complex supplying energy to Turkey and Europe”. A Russian national was detained, who claimed to have been recruited by the country’s security service, the Special Service of Ukraine.
“We are not commenting on the fantasies of the Russian special services,” said a representative of the State Security Service of Ukraine.
The gas market is particularly vulnerable to such developments as Moscow has used energy infrastructure disruptions in the past to justify supply cuts. European gas prices swung between gains and losses, and were up 2.8% as of 10:41 am in Amsterdam.
The FSB did not provide any details about what infrastructure it claimed was targeted. The only route supplying Russian energy to both Turkey and Europe is Turkstream, a pipeline across the Black Sea. Making landfall in Turkey, the link fuels a handful of European countries, including Serbia and Hungary, which are seen as “friendly” with Moscow.
“The market is probably treating observations of that nature with a massive amount of salt,” said Tom Marjek-Manser, head of gas analytics at ICIS in London. The potential for further disruption in supply via other routes from Moscow, not just the major Nord Stream pipeline that is currently closed, was already reflected in the price rally in August, he said. On top of that, Turkstream supplies the EU markets which do not have as big an impact on futures prices as compared to Northwest Europe.
Russia has already cut shipments to Europe via major pipelines, bypassing Turkstream and shutting down transit flow through Ukraine as the last remaining routes. This is about 80 million cubic meters of gas, or about 20% of Russia’s normal exports to the continent.