(Bloomberg) -- Europe could run out of natural gas to heat homes this winter because of tight inventories and limited supplies from Russia, a U.S. State Department official said.

“If we have a colder-than-average winter, my concern is that we will not be able to have enough gas to use for heating in parts of Europe,” Amos Hochstein, senior adviser for energy security at the State Department, said in an interview to Bloomberg TV. While some nations will still be able to purchase gas at a higher cost, others could be forced to ration the fuel, he added. 

A gas supply crunch has plunged Europe into an energy crises, with prices hitting records, some factories shutting down and policy makers fretting about the impact of soaring bills for households and companies. 

Hochstein said supplies of gas from Russia to Europe are “inexplicably low compared to both previous years and to what they have the capacity to do.” Russia is trying to use the energy crisis to strengthen its case for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which is opposed by U.S. President Joe Biden, he said.

The adviser also said the U.S. is seeking to make sure there are enough fuel supplies for “today’s world,” which includes a message to allies such as Saudi Arabia to continue to supply oil at “affordable rates,” while speeding up the energy transition. 

“The energy structures are getting strained because, at the same time, we have more fires and more storms and more things that disrupt energy supply,” Hochstein said. 

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