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Javier Blas

Two Ways a War in Ukraine Affects Europe’s Gas

There’s the contained scenario. Then there’s the apocalyptic one. But would the Russian president really go there?

A Gazprom station.

A Gazprom station.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Inside NATO headquarters in Brussels, senior officials gathered last week to think the unthinkable: What would happen to Europe if Russia — by far its largest supplier — cuts off the flow of natural gas westward?

Every day, Europe buys almost 40% of the gas it consumes from Gazprom, the Russian-state owned giant. In 1968, Austria became the first Western European country to sign a contract to buy Russian gas. Since then, the trade has withstood political and economic upheavals, including the depths of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.