Germany, through winter without Russian gas

Germany, through winter without Russian gas

 Germany is said to be in short supply of gas to get through the winter. This was revealed by Klaus Mueller, head of the Bundesnetzagentur which regulates Germany's electricity and gas in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, on Sunday (17/7/2022). According to Russian media reports TASS, Mueller said that Germany's current gas storage facilities were not full enough to pass the winter without gas supplies from Russia. "The gas storage tank is almost 65 percent full." 

"It was better than the previous weeks, but still not enough to get through the winter without Russian gas," Mueller said. He also recalled that Nord Stream's maintenance work was scheduled to end next Thursday. "Now a lot depends on whether and how much gas flows through the pipeline after maintenance," said the president of Germany's Federal Network Agency or Bundesnetzagentur. If gas supplies from Russia were suddenly cut off overnight, Germany could experience a major recession. This is because the entire industry relies on gas and most German households use it for heating. 

Previously, German leaders acknowledged that Russia's dependence on energy was a mistake. According to CBC News, Ukraine has offered Germany and Canada an alternative supply, namely from the Sudzha pipeline which enters Ukraine's northern Sumy region from Russia and flows to the Czech border. Despite heavy fighting around Sumy, the pipeline continued to carry Russian gas. Ukrainians say Sudzha has an unused capacity of 202 million cubic meters per day, or more than the entire Nord Stream 1 pipeline. But Canada and Germany rejected the offer. "There is an alternative for Germany to be able to get gas," said Paul Grod, president of the Ukraine World Congress. 

"The gas they need is so easily accessible via Ukrainian pipelines, which for some unknown reason they refuse to use it. Instead, they fall prey to Russian extortion."
German households could turn to wood as a heating source this winter, as gas supplies are tight and Russia restricts taps to Europe, Deutsche Bank wrote in a note on Tuesday. According to a Markets Insider report, the bank expects gas consumption in Germany to be 10 percent below 2021 levels due to savings at the household level and high gas prices. The bank also notes that coal and lignite can be substitutes for natural gas in the industrial power sector. "There are many elements of uncertainty, particularly with respect to our assumptions about supply and demand from other countries," the note said. 

Deutsche's latest record comes as Europe prepares for winter, while Russia's invasion of Ukraine raises questions about the stability of natural gas flows. Moscow has restricted shipments to several countries, including Bulgaria and Poland for refusing to pay in rubles. The European Union is concerned that the bloc will not be able to ensure sufficient energy supplies without alternative sources. Gazprom, Russia's state oil and gas giant, sent mixed messages last Wednesday about whether gas flows would be restored to Nord Stream 1 in the near future after being closed for maintenance until July 21. Deutsche Bank's assertion that households can turn to wood for heat is not without reason. In the midst of a power outage last winter, households in Texas, United States were forced to burn wood and furniture to get heat. 

The switch, said Deutsche Bank, will reduce gas demand in Germany. "Both austerity and substitution have led to a reduction in German gas consumption by more than 14 percent year-on-year in the first five months of 2022," the note said. The bank added that some facilities in Germany could be closed due to rising energy costs.

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