The energy crisis in Europe has proceeded to a next dimension, with gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline falling to a fifth of the pipeline’s capacity. This has prompted Germany’s network regulator to issue a fresh appeal to households and businesses to save gas amid calls for rationing.
The cut in gas supply is coming two days after Gazprom, a majority owner of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, flagged further reduction in delivery. The current situation has inflicted a hard blow to Europe’s top economy, which is mainly dependent on Russian gas.
Klaus Mueller, head of Germany’s Bundesnetzagentur regulator, said, “the country could forestall gas shortage if it sets plans in motion instead of triggering the emergency plan that will usher in gas rationing.” He added that it would require efforts from both industry and consumers to reduce the gas shortage and he would like to see more action toward preventing gas shortages in the region. In short, according to Mueller, “the crucial thing is to save gas.”
Meanwhile, gas grid operator Gascade reported that it has so far received 1.28 million cubic meters of gas supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, a slightly lower ratio than what was earlier agreed. Similarly, Uniper, Germany’s largest importer of Russian gas, stated that it has only received a fifth of the agreed gas volumes from Gazprom. The company is now exploring legal options to compel the Russian supplier to stick to earlier arrangements.
Germany, which has been battling an energy crisis for some time now, is reportedly at Phase 2 of a three-stage emergency gas plan. The country plans to launch a new emergency phase once gas rationing becomes inevitable.
The Russian position
Despite the EU accusing the Kremlin of using gas supply to blackmail the region into turning a blind eye to its atrocities in Ukraine, Russia has stated that it has remained a reliable gas supplier to Europe. It added that the Nord Stream 1 pipeline was only closed for scheduled maintenance and will resume its full gas supply to Europe in the coming days.