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Status: 07/20/2022 04:57

The European Commission fears that the maintenance of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline will take longer or that Russian gas can no longer be supplied. She has now developed a contingency plan for this.

By Jakob Mayr, ARD Studio Brussels

Africa, Latin America, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar – all over the world, representatives of the European Commission and European governments are looking for alternatives to Russian gas.

The EU wants to get twice as much from Azerbaijan as before – by 2027 the annual delivery volume should reach 20 billion cubic meters. Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen signed the declaration of intent the day before yesterday in the capital Baku: “It will help to compensate for the loss of Russian gas supplies and make a significant contribution to the security of supply from Europe”.

Huge amounts of gas have to be saved

But according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this will not be enough to replace supplies from Russia – even if we add the quantities from Norway and North Africa and liquefied natural gas (LNG ) from the rest of the world.

According to the IEA, to be prepared in case Russia completely closes the gas tap in the autumn, the EU must fill its storage facilities to 90% and save huge sums: twelve billion cubic meters over the next three months – enough to fill 130 LNG tankers to fill.

Only heat public buildings to 19 degrees

The European Commission is making concrete proposals. At noon, she will present her emergency plan to prepare member states for a sudden stop in the supply of Russian gas. According to the project, the impact for the 27 countries depends on the extent to which they depend on Russian supplies.

Germany is therefore particularly affected. In order to save gas, Brussels recommends cooling public buildings to only 25 degrees and heating them to 19 degrees in winter and making greater use of district heating or heat pumps.

“Together we will win”

According to the Commission, in the event of a serious gas shortage, Member States can define in their own emergency plans the areas to be supplied as a priority. Particularly protected households come first. Depending on the project, certain sectors such as food producers or refineries come next if they are important for European supply chains.

However, the proposal allows governments to prioritize certain gas-fired power plants even over private consumers if power generation is threatened. Deputy Commissioner Frans Timmermans calls on member states to stop closing in:

They tried that during the corona pandemic, and that didn’t work either. We started acting as Europeans once we decided to do things together. And the same goes for the energy crisis: together we will win, alone we will fail.

EU states obliged to show solidarity

There is an EU solidarity mechanism for this, which obliges member states to donate gas to partner countries in extreme cases. According to the Federal Network Agency, before a country asks others for help, it must first have taken all steps to supply vulnerable customers itself.

More specifically, this is regulated in intergovernmental agreements. Germany has concluded such agreements with Denmark and Austria and is preparing others. According to its spokesman Eric Mamer, the European Commission expects the worst – that the Russian energy company Gazprom will not resume gas supplies to Europe after maintenance work on the Nord Stream1 gas pipeline. “We are working with the worst-case scenario. And that assumes that Gazprom no longer supplies gas to Europe. Our winter emergency plan is based on the worst-case scenario.”

But no one knows if that will happen, says the commission’s spokesman. Nord Stream 1 maintenance is supposed to last ten days and end tomorrow.

The EU fears that tensions with Moscow will drag them down or that no gas may pass at all. Even before maintenance, less than half of the ordered quantity passed through the pipeline.

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Source www.tagesschau.de

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