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Germany raises gas alert level after Russia cuts supply


RUSSIAN REBUTTAL

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.

Germany has dismissed the technical justification provided by Gazprom, instead calling the move a “political decision”.

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

“Our German partners are well aware of the technological servicing cycles of a pipeline,” he said.

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“It’s strange to call it politics.”

In recent weeks, Gazprom has stopped deliveries to a number of European countries, including Poland, Bulgaria, Finland and the Netherlands.

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

To mitigate the risks from a supply cut, the government mandated gas storage facilities be filled to 90 percent by the beginning of December.

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

In France, the government said Thursday it aimed to fill its natural gas storage reserves by autumn as it too braces for a drop in supply from Russia.

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France will also build a new floating methane terminal to receive more energy supplies by ship, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced.

SUPPLY SHORTAGE

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

If deliveries do not resume after the service period, Germany could face a shortage of gas as soon as “mid-December”.

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

The government has found new sources of supply, accelerated plans to import gas in the form of LNG by sea, and put aside 15 billion euros (US$15.8 billion) to buy gas to fill storage facilities.

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

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In contrast, the government shrugged off calls to extend the operational lifetime of its nuclear power plants.

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.

Germany had to look to see what “energy saving potential” existed, Habeck said Thursday.

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.



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