Europe faces two challenges: finding an alternative to Russian gas supplies and curbing domestic demand, to withstand the possibility of an economic and social storm.
Faced with the risk of energy shortages, now is the time to find solutions. The Russian giant Gazprom begins maintenance work on its pipeline Nord Stream 1, for a period of ten days. This technical formality is becoming, in the current war context, a real concern for the countries of the European Union. From now on, only one question arises: will the flows resume after this interview? Nothing is certain.
In France it is time to “anticipate the consequences”
The risk of Russia cutting off gas supplies to Europe “it’s a credible option”, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire warned on LCI on Sunday. By inviting the French to monitor energy consumption, the options considered to deal with this risk could be successful consumption restrictions for some industrial sites. The goal is clear, to avoid energy shortages at all costs.
“We need to anticipate energy sobriety, the preparation of large industries. There may be industrial sites to which we will ask to stop their energy consumption for a certain time”, explains on LCI.
Italy moves to meet Russian gas deliveries
Italy had respected Putin’s decree on payment in rubles. But the country is already seeing a 15% drop in Russian gas supplies. For the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, these are political decisions. In response, on 21 June the Italian government presented a first series of measures aimed at strengthening the country’s natural gas storage capacities. Rome plans to buy coal to run its power plants. This was announced by the Minister for Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani the government aims for a refill rate of its gas stocks of 90% in November.
Level 2 of the emergency plan launched in Germany
On the German side, the country has initiated level 2 of the national emergency plan. From 23 June the government has banned hot water in individual offices. For this winter,It is forbidden to heat above 20 degrees. In addition to all these measures, the use of coal is foreseen to spend next winter.
Look for gas elsewhere
Other EU countries prefer to find gas elsewhere. Poland, cut off from Russian gas since late April, has managed to manage this closure because its electricity largely comes from burning coal. Bulgaria, for its part, was 90% dependent on Russian imports. To respond to this crisis, the country decides to step up purchases of liquefied natural gas with other partners.
In general, the European Union is actively trying to free itself from its dependence on Russia. Spain, for example, is looking to develop its connections with the rest of Europe and could become the new gas hub. The EU is also in discussions with partners such as Azerbaijan, Norway and North Africa. Qatar is another option, as the country is one of the largest producers of liquefied natural gas in the world.
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