On May 12, Gazprom has completely stopped gas supplies through the Polish section of the Yamal—Europe pipeline. On the eve, Russian introduced sanctions against the EuRoPol GAZ company that owns it. This means the reduction of gaz transit from Russia to Germany.
Last week, Gazprom announced that the surplus Russian onshore gas transportation capacity of the Nord Stream 2 project will be used to supply gas to northwestern regions of Russia. The inclusion of the second string of the offshore gas pipeline is possible not earlier than in 2028, the company said in a statement. In response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the German government, which previously supported the Nord Stream 2 project, ordered to stop certification of the pipeline. On March 1, its operator, Nord Stream 2 AG, declared insolvency. At the same time, the U.S. imposed sanctions against the pipeline operator Nord Stream 2 AG.
In this regard, German politicians commented on the situation and shared their views on the future in the new conditions.
Energy Ministry spokeswoman Annika Einhorn said the German government rejected speculation that it might activate the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany to compensate for reduced gas flows through Ukraine. She said Germany receives a quarter less gas transported through Ukraine after Ukrainian authorities shut down the pipeline because a key compressor station ended up in Russian hands. Einhorn said the shortfall is partly offset by increased supplies from Norway and the Netherlands.
“Nord Stream 2 really died after Russia attacked Ukraine and no one thinks about switching to it,” she said.
She also noted that most of Russia’s gas comes to Germany via Nord Stream 1, not through Ukraine. Germany has pledged to stop importing Russian gas no later than 2024. Nord Stream 1 was launched back in 2011 with a capacity of 27 billion cubic meters per year. As of Wednesday, May 11, Ukraine was forced to stop the transit of gas through stations in the Luhansk region, which turned out to be in the temporarily occupied territory of Russia – through this point one third of the gas is supplied to Europe.
The deputy head of the German government believes that “we can do without gas from Russia if we fill our storage facilities and save energy. Germany could do without Russian gas supplies as early as this winter”, said Robert Habeck, Deputy Chancellor of Germany and Minister of Economy.
“If we fill our storage facilities completed by the end of the year, if two of the four floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers we rent out are connected to the grid, and if we save energy seriously, we could somehow survive the winter if gas supplies from Russia were to stop,” Habeck said.
He urged his fellow citizens to save energy.
“Reducing consumption is the alpha and omega in the case of gas. If we save ten percent in industry and private households in the next two years, it will be a decisive percentage to avoid being in a crisis. Everyone has to help. Increasing savings is a serious tool against Putin,” said the head of the German economy ministry.
According to Robert Habeck, two of the four LNG tankers leased by Germany already compensate for almost a quarter of the Russian gas volume. At the same time, the minister warned of significant economic risks of stopping Russian supplies.
“Even if the conditions are met, gas prices will certainly rise very strongly, the storage facilities will be empty by the end of winter,” he explained.
Germany is heavily dependent on imports of Russian gas, so calls for a gas embargo against Russia are causing a mixed reaction in the country. Germany’s Dependence on Russian gas has fallen from 55 percent to 35 percent since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the latest figures from the German Economy Ministry. Berlin hopes to gradually reduce this dependence to 10 percent by the summer of 2024.
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