Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck fears that there will be no Russian gas supplies through the Nord Stream gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea. From July 11, there is a threat of “a total blockade of Nord Stream 1,” said the Green politician on Thursday at a “sustainability summit” of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. That’s why it can be really problematic in winter. “It’s a tight bill,” Habeck said. The gas supply over the summer is guaranteed.
In mid-June, Russia had already severely curtailed deliveries through Nord Stream, citing technical problems. In response, the federal government had declared the alarm level in the gas emergency plan. “Gas is now a scarce commodity in Germany,” Habeck said. He had launched a package of measures to reduce gas consumption in industry and gas can be stored instead.
Annual maintenance work on Nord Stream 1 will now begin on July 11. The pipeline is usually shut down for ten days, Habeck said at the “Sustainability Summit”. But based on the pattern seen, it wouldn’t be “super surprising” if any small part was found. “And then you say: Yes, we can’t turn it on again, now we found something during maintenance and that’s it. So in that respect the situation is definitely tense.”
The storage facilities would have to be full by winter, Habeck continued, and two floating terminals for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Germany would have to be connected. According to the Federal Network Agency, the current storage levels in Germany are around 61 percent. After the Russian throttling, 0.3 to 0.5 percent of gas will be stored per day, said Habeck. That’s about half of what happened before Nord Stream 1 was cut. But there are still significant amounts.
The appeals and measures to reduce gas consumption are now clearly having an effect: nationwide gas consumption between January and May was around 460 billion kilowatt hours, as the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) announced on Thursday. That was 14.3 percent less than in the first five months of the previous year.