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Russia-Ukraine crisis expected to have major impact on Europe's natural gas prices

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A gas pressure gauge is seen at a natural gas facility in Mryn village not far from Kiev, Ukraine. Cash-strapped Ukraine has been heavily dependent on energy from Russia and is also a key transit country for gas to Western Europe. File Photo by Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE
A gas pressure gauge is seen at a natural gas facility in Mryn village not far from Kiev, Ukraine. Cash-strapped Ukraine has been heavily dependent on energy from Russia and is also a key transit country for gas to Western Europe. File Photo by Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE

Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Russia's invasion into Ukraine is driving up the cost of natural gas worldwide, analysts noted on Thursday as Moscow's military incursion could threaten the flow of supplies into Europe.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin promised earlier this week that he wouldn't disrupt natural gas supplies to Europe, the invasion early Thursday has raised news fears. And Ukraine's gas-transport infrastructure is vital to European gas supplies.

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Natural gas futures rose Thursday by more than 5% -- to a three-week high of $4.9 per million in British thermal units, according to the website Trading Economics. While new economic sanctions could hurt Russia by leaving its exports out of the global market, supplies of gas traditionally goes to where demand is the highest during the winter months.

PJSC Gazprom is a Russian majority state-owned multinational energy corporation that has a monopoly on natural gas from Russia. File Photo by Igor Golovniov/Shutterstock/UPI

Natural gas, heating oil, gasoline and Brent crude had all showed increases of at least 6% by early Thursday, Trading Economics said.

RELATED U.S. to sanction company behind Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2

About 40% of Europe's natural gas supplies come from Russia, which has only increased over the past 20 years as those countries transitioned away from coal and nuclear power.

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"While Western governments probably will exempt energy transactions from sanctions, the blizzard of new restrictions will force many traders to be exceedingly cautious in handling Russian barrels," political risk consultancy Eurasia Group said, according to CNBC.

"Gas transiting Ukraine will likely be disrupted, affecting supplies to several central and eastern European countries, and raising gas prices in Europe."

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Germany said this week that it was halting certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which runs from Russia to Germany, over the crisis in Ukraine. Australia, Britain, Canada, the European Union, Japan and the United States have all announced a string of sanctions against Moscow.

RELATED Canada, allies start penalizing Russia for breaching Ukrainian border

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