Russia urged to increase gas exports to Europe

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Increasing gas exports from Russia could help Europe out in its time of need, it has been claimed.

Russia has been called upon to increase its exports of gas to the European Union in a bid to reduce the energy crisis that has pushed prices for the commodity to record highs.

Head of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol told the Financial Times Russia can and should boost exports by around 15 per cent of peak winter supply if it wants to help and prove its status as a reliable supplier.

"I don't say they will do it, but if they wish so, they have the capacity to do it," he added.

The claims come after Russian president Vladimir Putin hinted that he does plan to raise shipments as part of a plan to ease the crisis going on in Europe.

Indeed, he said more gas should be widely available once the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany is online.

However, Mr Putin has also previously stressed that Russia's domestic demand for energy should be met as a priority, leading to speculation that he may not lend a helping hand after all.

The situation has highlighted how vulnerable the EU is in terms of gas supplies and raised concerns about what could happen should the natural resource be used as a weapon.

Moscow is currently Europe's biggest provider of gas, with Russian state-controlled exporter Gazprom supplying more than a third of the bloc's needs.