Germany would have enough gas to last it through at least late this summer if Russian supply stopped now, the head of the German network regulator told weekly Die Zeit in an interview published on Tuesday.
Klaus Müller, the head of Bundesnetzagentur, currently receives a lot of letters from German businesses asking for protection in case gas supplies are cut off, he told Die Zeit.
Germany’s gas reserves look better now than they did a month ago and could last until late in the summer and early autumn if Russian gas flows stopped now, either because of physical disruption of supply or sanctions or embargo on Russian gas, Müller said.
Still, Germany should brace itself for potential gas rationing later this year in case it cannot get enough supply in time, he warned.
At the end of last month, Germany started to prepare for a potential disruption of natural gas supply from Russia and activated an emergency plan ahead of the March 31 deadline Vladimir Putin had ordered for gas-for-ruble payments.
Germany depends on Russian gas for around half of its needs, with many industries using gas and about half of all households heating with gas. The Russian war in Ukraine exposed Germany’s—and Europe’s—vulnerable reliance on gas and other energy flows from Russia. Europe—and especially Germany—has been reluctant to impose an embargo or sanctions on Russian energy because of its high dependence on supply from Moscow.
Last week, however, the EU adopted a ban on Russian coal imports, as of August 2022, in the wake of footage and mounting evidence of atrocities committed by Russian troops withdrawing from Ukrainian towns.
The EU is currently discussing an oil embargo, with Germany one of the opponents of such a move. Germany signaled last week it could end its dependence on Russian oil this year, but it would need another two years to wean itself off Russian gas.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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