Germany enters gas crisis as Russian supply plummets

Germans are feeling the shortage of gas
Natural gas, scarce and expensive
Russia is closing the gas tap
Russian weapon against Germany
Germany depends on Russian gas
Looking for alternatives
Urgent request: use less gas
Phase 2 of the emergency plan
What would happen at the ultimate, emergency level?
Government then distributes the gas
Who would be the first to run out of gas?
Chemical industry first
Who are the
Swimming pools would be closed
Bakery and supermarket can keep running
But how expensive will gas become?
High prices for consumers
Who knows, a return to coal?
Government has a plan for coal
Greenpeace applauds lower gas consumption
Businesses also want to avoid the worst-case scenario
Germans are feeling the shortage of gas

"We are in a gas crisis." These were the concerning words of German Economic Affairs Minister Robert Habeck at a special press conference last week. "There is a gas supply failure, so this step [of declaring the gas crisis] is necessary."

Natural gas, scarce and expensive

"From now on, gas is a scarce resource. Prices are already high and we have to brace ourselves for more increases."

Russia is closing the gas tap

According to the German Tagesschau, Russia has been supplying 40% less gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline for weeks. In addition, there's maintenance scheduled for July 11. German authorities are increasingly concerned that Russia will close the tap entirely.

Russian weapon against Germany

"The restraining of the gas supply is an economic attack on us," Habeck said. Russian President Vladimir Putin's strategy is to create uncertainty, drive up prices and divide Germany's economy seed society.

Germany depends on Russian gas

Things have also gone wrong in Germany though. "It's the failures of the past decade that have put us in these problems," Habeck said. The country has become far too dependent on Russian gas.

Looking for alternatives

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the German government, led by Habeck, has been looking all over the world for alternative sources and forms of energy.

In the photo: Robert Habeck during talks in Jordan.

Urgent request: use less gas

Habeck is now calling on industries, public institutions, and private consumers to do as much as possible to reduce their gas consumption. "We must now take precautions to be prepared for winter," he said at the press conference in Berlin.

Phase 2 of the emergency plan

The so-called 'Gas Emergency Plan' regulates the gas supply in Germany in crisis situations. It has three escalation levels: the early warning level (proclaimed by Habeck at the end of March), the alarm level (current), and the emergency level.

What would happen at the ultimate, emergency level?

The emergency level occurs when there is "excessively high demand for gas, a significant disruption to the gas supply, or any other significant deterioration in the supply situation."

In the photo: Uniper gas storage.

Government then distributes the gas

In the event of an 'emergency level', the state would intervene in the distribution of gas supplies. That means Berlin decides who gets gas and how much.

Who would be the first to run out of gas?

The industrial sector would be the first to get cut. According to the German outlet T-online, industrial plants are responsible for more than a third of the total gas consumption in Germany.

In the photo: BASF in Ludwigshafen

Chemical industry first

Consumption is particularly high in the chemical industry. The government is currently holding talks "in preparation for the crisis with industry and the energy sector," T-online reports.

Who are the "protected" customers?

According to the Federal Network Agency, private households, fire departments, the police, hospitals, schools, nurseries, prisons, and the armed forces are among the so-called "protected" customers. They would be given priority in the event of an acute gas shortage.

Swimming pools would be closed

"The apartment stays warm, the swimming pool is closed." This is how Klaus Müller, chairman of the Federal Network Agency, sums it up.

Bakery and supermarket can keep running

Companies with a consumption of up to 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of gas per year need not worry, Müller told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. These are, for example, bakeries and supermarkets.

But how expensive will gas become?

A price adjustment clause was added to the German Energy Security Act in May. Under this arrangement, suppliers are allowed to pass on their high purchase prices to their customers in the event of reduced gas imports.

High prices for consumers

"All energy supply companies affected in the supply chain (have) the right to adjust their gas prices at an appropriate level to their customers," says paragraph 24 of the law. This means that the gas bill for consumers could rise considerably.

Who knows, a return to coal?

According to Tagesschau, the alarm level currently declared by the government is a way for Berlin to open up conversations about an already existing plan to run more coal-fired power stations. The government has been toying with the idea of using coal to reduce gas dependence in the electricity sector for some time now.

Government has a plan for coal

There is already a bill on the table to reactivate certain coal-fired power stations. This law on the provision of replacement power stations will be put to a vote in the Federal Council on 8 July.

Greenpeace applauds lower gas consumption

Whatever the government decides to do with coal, Minister Habeck's decision to declare a gas crisis was positively received, for now, by organizations such as Greenpeace. "To ensure that a freeze in Russia's gas supply does not lead to a supply crisis in the coming winter, consistent energy conservation is now needed," said Greenpeace energy expert Gerald Neubauer.

Businesses also want to avoid the worst-case scenario

Even the business community reacted positively to the preventive measures announced by Habeck. The unity between conservationists and industrialists seems to be a good starting point for solving the problem, but the consequences of the gas crisis nevertheless remain a big challenge.

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