The French government called on Sunday to “get into battle order quickly” to address the possibility of a total cut in Russian gas supplies, “the most likely option” according to Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire. .

“Let’s get ready for a total cut in Russian gas, this is the most likely option today. This presupposes that our energy independence will accelerate ”, invoked the number 2 of the French government during the Economic Meetings in Aix-en-Provence, who wants to take advantage of the summer to“ get in battle order ”before winter.

In terms of supply, “we may have gas tensions this winter,” premier Elisabeth Borne warned during a press meeting on Saturday. To avoid shortages, the government has called for national gas storage capacities to be filled “almost 100%” by early autumn.

Prioritize families and certain sectors

As for electricity, normally, according to EDF’s projections, we should have higher production as “the twelve reactors (out of 56) currently closed due to corrosion restart,” said Ms Borne. But in the event of a power outage, the government is preparing for the winter a series of measures aimed at prioritizing households and some industries. “Of course we preserve families and (…) we don’t cut down factories or public transport,” Ms. Borne detailed on Saturday. “We must now put ourselves in order of battle on organization, lightening, sobriety, reducing consumption … it is time we must make the decisions”, echoed the Minister of Economy. .

In the country, with the second largest nuclear fleet in the world by power, gas accounts for nearly 20% of its energy mix and in 2020 it accounted for less than 7% of its electricity production, according to government data. Before the war in Ukraine, France relied on Russia for about 17% of its gas.

More “favorable” situation.

Some industrial sites may be asked to “slow down energy consumption, or even stop energy consumption for a certain time”, explained Mr. Le Maire, stating that “for certain sites it is totally impossible” not to ” break the industrial tool “.

France, which claims to be in a more “favorable” situation than its neighbors, will in particular have to acquire a new floating LNG terminal next year to ensure supply. “We need to distribute the efforts between administrations, individuals and companies”, explained Bruno Le Maire.

The government has also launched three working groups to improve energy sobriety in administration, businesses and businesses open to the public. The goal is to define a roadmap to reduce energy consumption by 10% within two years compared to 2019. “It is a matter of several months, but (this) must also lead us to make a series of investment decisions and to be imaginative . France is extraordinarily imaginative, creative in terms of energy, “said Bruno Le Maire on LCI.

The risk of energy shortages does not stop at the French borders, as on Wednesday the President of the European Commission called on the 27 Member States of the European Union to “prepare for further interruptions in the supply of gas, or even a complete cut from Russia” .

Germany, otherwise more dependent on Russian gas than France, is already on high alert. The Bundestag has adopted a savings plan: more heating above 20 degrees in winter and more hot water in individual offices, for example.

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