Last Updated on October 2, 2022
The German government is concerned that the nation could run out of gas this winter as a result of Europe’s energy woes as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, which led to sanctions on Russian energy. Germany imported a significant portion of its natural gas from Russia prior to the invasion of Ukraine in February.
German Federal Economy Minister Robert Habeck told German media that the nation’s energy situation remained very precarious. On Friday, Habeck appealed to Germans to reduce natural gas consumption a day after the German government launched a new price break program to help citizens with rising energy costs.
The new policy will cover 80 percent of regular consumption in hopes of getting Germans to reduce usage and prevent rationing this winter.
“For the upper 20 per cent of normal consumption, you will certainly have to pay the full bill,” Habeck told Deutschlandfunk Radio, Reuters reports.
Habeck added that Germany was facing an “extremely tense situation” ahead of the winter. “If we don’t save, if households don’t reduce consumption, we still risk not having enough gas in the winter.”
Just last week, Habeck claimed that German gas storage was at 90 percent capacity, adding that he believed the nation should be able to get the winter comfortably. “If everything goes well, savings in Germany are high and if we have a bit of luck with the weather, we will have a chance at getting through the winter comfortably,” he said.
“That means, however, that the storage facilities will be empty again at the end of the winter — in this case really empty, because we are going to use the gas,” he added.
Last week’s statement came before the suspected sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which were built to transport gas between Russia and Germany. Nord Stream 2 was never opened, as the German government opted to halt the project after Russia sent troops to Ukraine in February. Nord Stream 1 had been reduced to 20% capacity, but Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom opted to completely halt flows in July.
Still, the destruction of the pipelines has heightened fears of energy rationing this winter, as the option to re-open the pipelines is now completely off the table.
It is unclear whether the pipelines can be fixed at all. Some experts have warned that saltwater could destroy the insides of the pipes if immediate action is not taken.
In 2021, Germany received 34% of its crude oil imports from Russia.