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Germany is currently in an “extremely tense situation” in terms of energy supply, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Friday, adding that Europe’s biggest economy still risks running out of gas this winter.
“We are still in this emergency. If we don't save, if households don't reduce consumption, we still risk not having enough gas in the winter," Habeck told the local Deutschlandfunk radio as quoted by Reuters.
The minister’s assessment of the energy supply situation came a day after Germany announced plans for a multi-billion-euro “defensive shield” to protect households and businesses from surging energy prices, and a day after the German regulator warned once again that energy and gas conservation is needed if Germany is to avoid gas shortages this winter.
On Thursday, the German government that it would ditch earlier plans for a gas levy on consumers and instead would introduce a gas price cap to curb soaring energy bills, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz setting out a $196 billion (200 billion euros) “defensive shield” to protect companies and consumers against the impact of soaring energy prices.
Under the new plan, Germany will introduce an emergency price brake on gas and electricity prices and also scrap a previously planned gas levy on consumers to avoid any further price increases. The gas levy, which was slated to come into effect from Saturday and remain in place until April 2024, was intended to help utilities cover the cost of replacing Russian supply.
Also on Thursday, Germany's Federal Network Agency, Bundesnetzagentur, said that gas consumption rose too much last week to levels higher than in previous years, and without considerable gas conservation—including from households—the country will find it difficult to avoid gas shortages this winter.
“Without significant savings, also in the private sector, it will be difficult to avoid a gas shortage in the winter,” the agency's president Klaus Müller said on Thursday.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.
But it is a situation the EU’s largest economy has brought it on itself by not granting Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline an operational licence in September 2021 when it was sitting idle.
The situation for Germany and also for the EU boils down to plentiful and cheap Russian gas supplies in return for lifting the sanctions on Russia.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Global Energy Expert