Russian gas giant Gazprom announced on Tuesday that it has started filling gas tanks for sale on the European market, which could allay concerns about shortages on the continent as winter approaches, DPA reports:
Gazprom said in a statement that it had approved a plan to fill five underground plants with natural gas this month, and that work had begun.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an increase in supplies to Austria and Germany in October in the wake of sharp energy prices.
Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller announced at the time that this would be possible from November 8.
Gazprom is heavily criticized in Europe, where many officials believe the giant has not properly prepared for European demand.
Some officials accuse Russia of reducing deliveries in order to put pressure on Germany to give final approval to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea, which bypasses several supply lines in Eastern Europe.
The Nord Stream 2 project has angered many German allies and raises fears that Russia would reduce its supply of natural gas to some Eastern European countries.
Moscow denies the allegations and accuses Europe of failing to adequately replenish itself with natural gas, despite last year’s harsh winter.