Hoechst industrial park in Frankfurt, Germany.Image AP

    That said Minister Robert Habeck for Energy and Climate on Thursday during a press conference. The second of three alarm phases in the German crisis plan means that the country sees a high risk of gas shortages in the longer term.

    That is why an amount of 15 billion euros has now been made available to accelerate the filling of the German gas storage facilities. Officially, it also means that German energy companies can charge higher energy costs directly to customers in order to encourage energy savings and alternative energy sources.

    However, that passing on has not yet been fully settled, sources report to Reuters news agency. To do this, the necessary procedures must first be completed in the federal states.

    Escalation ladder

    Germany, which was 50 percent dependent on Russian gas before the invasion of Ukraine, already announced the first phase of a gas crisis in early March. The industrial and energy sector has been pushing for the next rung on the escalation ladder for the past week. This after the gas flow through the Nord Stream pipeline decreased from 167 million cubic meters per day to approximately 67 million cubic meters per day.

    The Russians say this is happening because an essential compressor from Germany’s Siemens cannot be delivered due to sanctions. But in Europe, the reduction is widely interpreted as Putin’s political move to drive up the gas price and get Europe into trouble. In any case, the increase in the price has been quite successful: gas became more expensive by 50 percent last week.

    Minister Habeck explained on Thursday morning that in recent days he had calculated to what extent the reduced gas supply is really a major problem for Germany. The gas storages in the country are currently almost 60 percent full and despite the severely reduced supply from Russia, that percentage is still increasing, partly due to the greatly increased import of liquefied natural gas, LNG.

    Extreme Scenarios

    The European requirement that all gas storage facilities must be at least 80 percent full by this autumn is therefore certainly still feasible. “There is absolutely no acute gas shortage in Germany, but we have to take into account extreme scenarios that could change that,” says Habeck.

    According to Habeck, “all creativity is therefore needed” to ensure that the gas dependence on Russia is reduced as quickly as possible. And higher prices for citizens and businesses play a very important role in this, he explained. “I say that while I certainly realize that this hurts and that we need to support the people who are suffering very badly.” But higher energy prices make it clear to everyone, according to Habeck, that something is really going on and that we all need to change something.

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