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The European Union is drafting contingency plans in case of natural gas supply interruptions, the Financial Times has reported, citing the European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson.
According to Simson, the European Union can replace most of the natural gas it currently receives from Russia by the end of this year, but in case of what she called a “full disruption” of supplies, the bloc would need to do more.
The contingency plans seem to focus on curbing gas supply to industries, the FT report noted, citing unnamed sources close to Brussels. Households will not be subjected to gas rationing. Industrial users account for 27 of the EU’s gas consumption.
“We are facing a situation that any member state might be the next one [to be cut off],” Simson told the FT in an interview. “So far we have been able to take care of the security of supply concerns of these three member states, mainly with the help of the solidarity of neighbours.”
“This year if there will be full disruption, we are preparing contingency plans,” she added, also saying that the EU was confident it could replace two-thirds of Russian gas supplies by the end of the year.
Russia is the EU’s largest supplier of natural gas and crude oil. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions the EU imposed on Moscow in response to that, the security of oil and gas supply to the EU has been shaken.
Russia has continued to deliver gas to its European clients as long as they were willing to pay for these deliveries under new rules, but it cut off gas deliveries to Poland, Bulgaria, and Finland, fueling fears that it might decide to turn all the taps off.
In anticipation of such a disruption, the EU has been stocking up on gas, mostly from a sharp increase in LNG deliveries, with the intake from the United States at record highs during the last few months.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.