How Germany is preparing for gas rationing this winter

Germany will not be able to rely on gas from Qatar. The market that Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck thought he had restricted during his trip to the Gulf in March has been cancelled. The announcement of this setback, at the beginning of August, was not commented on by Berlin. But this is undoubtedly additional bad news for Germany, which since mid-July has faced a decline in Russian deliveries. After ten days of maintenance in mid-July, Nordstream 1 gas pipeline has resumed shipping at just 20% of its capacity.

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The situation is tense and its aggravation cannot be ruled out. But the offer is stable at the moment.”, refers to the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), which publishes a daily report on the state of Germany’s gas reserves. The tool was scrutinized as thoroughly as indicators of contamination that were at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. We follow the evolution of flow in pipelines and tank filling rate. It should exceed 75% in the coming days, two weeks earlier than scheduled. The reason for this strength is primarily due to the energy sobriety of the Germans: gas consumption registered a significant decrease of 21% compared to July 2021. The companies bear the bulk of the efforts. Thus, Mercedes should cut its needs in half by the end of the year. Siemens announced Thursday, August 11th, that it will now be able to phase out gas completely.

pragmatism

However, the various scenarios for the coming months, announced by the Network Agency on August 7, are bleak: one model suggests that the country could survive the shortage – if Germany continues to consume 20% less gas, if it also cuts by 20% % of the volume of gas it transports to the rest of Europe and if the two LNG terminals under construction come into service as planned in January. On this point, the Prime Minister, Olaf Schultz, showed great confidence Thursday, August 11, during his press conference about returning to school. We will have gas.He said, without specifying whether he was talking only about these stations or about the reserves of the entire state.

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In the face of so much uncertainty, pragmatism takes hold: it is indeed necessary to regulate rationing. German and European laws protect individuals as well as the health sector (hospitals, nursing homes, etc.). The rest of the economy has no guarantees. Who will have gas at Christmas? The question haunts all business leaders. Nothing is leaking out of the Federal Network Agency’s future arbitration. “Politics gives us maximum freedom”its director, Sunday Klaus Müller, acknowledged in an interview with the newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

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