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Germany has a chance to avoid natural gas shortages in the coming months if households and businesses conserve gas and energy and Russia doesn't cut supply further, Klaus Müller, the president of Germany's Federal Network Agency, Bundesnetzagentur, said on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Russia warned that gas supply via Nord Stream—the main natural gas link between Russia and Germany—would be cut to just 20% of the pipeline's capacity, days after Gazprom restarted the pipeline at 40% capacity after regular maintenance. The Russian explanation for the even lower gas flows to Europe is that another turbine at a compressor station is up for maintenance and repairs, while the one that Canada returned from repairs has yet to be installed.
"Gas is now not only part of Russia's foreign policy, but possibly also part of the Russian war strategy," Müller told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk in an interview.
It is now clear that gas will become more and more expensive, and this surge in prices will trickle down to customers in the autumn, the head of the German regulator said.
As long as Russia doesn't cut gas deliveries further and gas storage is still being filled, there is no threat of a gas shortage, Müller told Deutschlandfunk. He noted, however, that the supply from Russia is unpredictable and called for continued gas and energy savings.
So far this summer, households and businesses have already cut gas consumption by 5% to 6%, he added.
German companies warn they risk shutdowns of production in case the supply situation worsens.
Meanwhile, in Italy, supply from Russia was also cut on Wednesday. Germany and Italy are the largest buyers of Russian gas in Europe, and the cut in supplies in mid-June impacted them the most.
Italy's Eni said today that Gazprom had informed it that gas volumes would be around 27 million cubic meters on Wednesday, compared to daily deliveries of approximately 34 million cubic meters made in recent days.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
President Putin knows better than anyone else that Russia’s energy is his trump card and he will use it to force a lifting of sanctions by the EU against his country in exchange for plentiful and cheap supplies of Russian gas.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Global Energy Expert