Germany raises gas alert level after Russia cuts supply

Germany, like a number of other European countries, is highly reliant on Russian energy imports to meet its needs

Germany moved closer to rationing natural gas on Thursday as it raised the alert level under an emergency plan after Russia slashed supplies to the country.

“Gas is now a scarce commodity in Germany,” Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters at a press conference.

But the Kremlin dismissed Germany’s suggestion there were political reasons behind the limits to supply as “strange”.

Triggering the “alarm” level — the second of three steps under the emergency plan — brings Germany a step closer to the final stage that could see gas rationing in Europe’s top economy.

“If we do nothing now, things will get worse,” Habeck said.

Russian energy giant Gazprom cut supplies to Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline by 60 percent last week, blaming the new limits on delayed repairs.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday there was “no double meaning” in the supply decision.

“It’s strange to call it politics.”

Supplies of gas to Europe’s largest economy were “secure”, Habeck said, but action was still required to prepare for the winter ahead.

Currently, the country’s stores stand just under 60 percent full, above the average level of previous years.

France will also build a new floating terminal to receive more liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies by ship, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced.

“We can do without Russian gas,” French Energy Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said later on BFM Business TV.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) meanwhile said it would lend 300 million euros to Moldova to for gas purchases.

The German government expects supply to stop between July 11 and July 25 for annual maintenance on the Nord Stream pipeline.

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, Germany has managed to reduce the share of its natural gas supplied by Russia from 55 percent to around 35 percent.

Germany also decided to reactivate mothballed coal-fired power plants to take the burden for electricity generation off gas.

Prolonging the use of the final reactors set to be taken off the grid at the end of the year was “not an option”, it said Wednesday.

Households could “make a difference” by conserving energy, after Germany launched a campaign to encourage fuel-saving measures, he said, while industry could also make a further contribution.

Originally published as Germany raises gas alert level after Russia cuts supply

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