Germany edges closer to gas rationing as Russia chokes off supplies | Germany

Germany has moved closer to gas rationing, after the country’s economy ministry on Thursday warned of a high risk of long-term supply shortages due to the systematic choking of deliveries gas from Russia.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck announced the second of three phases of the energy emergency plan, which allows utility companies to pass on high gas prices to customers and thus help reduce demand.

The ministry said the reason for the warning was a reduction in Russian gas deliveries since June 14 amid still high gas market prices. If Russian gas deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline were to remain at the low level of 40%, the ministry said in a statement, “a storage target of 90% by December cannot be achieved without additional measures”.

Habeck said there would “hopefully never” be a need for gas rationing, but added: “Of course I can’t rule it out. The plan was to save money, expand the infrastructure and switching to alternative energy sources during the hot summer months to avoid a winter rationing scenario.

Germany’s plans to replenish its gas reserves hit another hurdle next month, when the Nord Stream 1 pipeline closes for its annual inspection on July 11 and will no longer be able to transport gas. The inspection usually lasts about 10 days, but Habeck said he fears the Russian president might take the opportunity to completely halt deliveries on a technical pretext.

“There is no point in pretending – the throttling of gas supplies amounts to an economic attack on us by Putin,” said the Minister of Economy and Energy. “Putin’s strategy is clearly to stoke insecurity, drive up prices and drive a wedge in our society.

“Even if it doesn’t feel like it yet, we are in a gas crisis,” he added. “From now on, gas is going to be a scarce commodity.”

The Green Party politician said the current crisis was also the result of previous German governments being too dependent on Russian gas and not diversifying their energy sources enough.

“It is now coming back to haunt us and needs to be rectified at high speed,” Habeck said at a Thursday morning news conference.

Germany has raced to fill its gas storage facilities in time for winter, as Europe’s biggest economy struggles to wean itself off Russian energy supplies in the face of a possible European embargo or to a potential decision by Moscow to completely cut off the supply.

In a controversial move with the Green Party’s electoral base, the German government plans to build two new liquefied natural gas terminals on the North Sea coast and restart some coal-fired power plants that were due to be cut.

On June 14, Gazprom announced it was cutting deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline by 40%, citing delayed repairs of technical parts by German company Siemens. Habeck said on Thursday that the technical reasons given were “just a pretext”.

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The economy minister rallied German industry leaders around his emergency plans on Tuesday, warning that big business could face not just days but months of gas shortages over the next year. coming winter.

“If the plan works, the storage units will be full in winter,” he told a meeting of German DAX companies in Berlin. “There is a degree of hope that we can manage this. But make no mistake, we are not there yet, the units are only at 60%”.

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Post expires at 6:00am on Monday July 4th, 2022