Germany’s Energy Supervisory Authority: “The situation could become ‘very serious’ if we don’t significantly reduce our gas consumption.”
As Europe burns its natural gas reserves to survive through the dark and freezing winter months, the Continent is set to be hit by a real energy crunch early next year, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) believes.
“Europe may face an even more acute energy crunch next year after draining its natural gas tanks to get through the cold of this winter,” Reuters reported Wednesday, citing the IEA.
While the IEA assumes that Europe will scrape through the winter thanks to its gas reserves, the latest data from Germany is more worrying. The German agency charged with monitoring energy consumption, Die Bundesnetzagentur, has raised the alarm over the country’s high gas usage despite the disruption in the Russian supply.
“According to figures from the [German energy] supervisory authority, the gas consumption by private households and small commercial customers in the 39th calendar week was 618 gigawatt [sic] hours, almost 10 percent above the average consumption level for the years 2018 to 2021,” the German public broadcaster ZDF reported Wednesday.
“The situation could become “very serious” if we don’t significantly cut our gas usage,” emphasized [head of the authority Klaus] Müller,” the news outlet added.
Reuters reported Europe’s coming energy crunch:
Europe may face an even more acute energy crunch next year after draining its natural gas tanks to get through the cold of this winter, the head of the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday, as the EU looks for ways to ease the crisis.
European countries have filled storage tanks to around 90% of their capacity after Russia cut gas supplies in response to Western sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine.
Gas prices , which surged in the months after the invasion in February, have retreated. But that could be short-lived as countries compete to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other alternatives to Russian pipeline deliveries. (…)
“With gas storages almost at 90%, Europe will survive the coming winter with just some bruises as long as there are no political or technical surprises,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the Paris-based IEA.
The real challenges facing Europe, which had historically relied on Russia for around 40% of its natural gas, will begin in February or March when storage needs to be refilled after high winter demand has drained them to 25%-30%.
“This winter is difficult but next winter may also be very difficult,” Birol told journalists in Finland.
Almost a week after Russia’s gas supply to Europe was disrupted by irreparable damage to Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea, the European Union is effectively putting Moscow out of the European energy market by imposing a price cap on Russian oil exports.
“Russia’s oil exports are set to be capped after the European Union’s 27 member states agreed on a new sanctions package on Wednesday,” German TV channel DW News reported. “The move hopes to deliver a blow to Russia’s oil revenues amid its ongoing war in Ukraine,” the broadcaster commented.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to “freeze” Europe if the EU went ahead with a price cap when his energy revenue started skyrocketing following his invasion of Ukraine.
Putin isn’t making empty threats. Despite the disruption of the Nord Stream pipelines, Russia still remains a player in the European natural gas market. Russian gas can still flow into Europe via the Russian pipeline running through Ukraine, and the TurkStream pipeline, which supplies Turkey and southeastern Europe.
The EU and European governments worry as cities across the Continent witness massive protests against the soaring cost of living and high energy bills. The German police are preparing for a “state of emergency,” as they fear mass-rioting and political unrest if the country descends into chaos in the wake of nationwide power cuts and blackouts.
(Excerpts from German media reports translated by the author)DONATE
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