Friday 12 August 2022

EU ministers poised to agree to gas plan as Russia cuts supplies

Photo: Depositphotos.com

EU energy ministers in Brussels are set to agree to the EU Commission’s winter emergency gas plan, which involves a voluntary 15% cut in gas use between August and April, international news agencies said on Tuesday morning.

The Netherlands has yet to officially react to the agreement, but officials have been working on an alternative to Russian gas for several months.

Gas grid company Gasunie said earlier this month it expects that even without Russian gas there will be no supply shortage in the coming winter – if a number of conditions are met. These include making sure gas storage tanks are filled to 80% capacity, including LNG imports and allowing coal-fired power stations to operate fully.

Energy minister Rob Jetten has said the Netherlands has already cut its gas usage by 25% as demand falls because of high prices, although that is no reason for complacency.

‘Gasunie has said that saving energy is the crux when it comes to preventing any shortfall in supplies this winter,’ he told reporters earlier this month.

Nevertheless, Jetten would not rule out cutting off supplies to heavy industry if needed as a last resort. ‘We have to be prepared for every eventuality,’ the minister said.

The meeting comes as Russian state-controlled Gazprom said supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany would drop to just 20% of capacity this week.

Before the war in Ukraine, Russia supplied 40% of EU gas.

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