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EU was told to prepare for Russia’s gas cut

Brussels — The European Commission has urged countries across the block to reduce gas usage by 15% until March, fearing Russia could cut supplies.

The goal is voluntary, but it is stated that if Moskva turns off the faucet this summer, it will become legally binding.

The main Nordstream 1 pipeline from Russia to Germany has been offline for 10 days maintenance and will be restored this Thursday.

However, there are concerns that Moskva will not fulfill that promise.

Russia supplied Europe with 40% of its natural gas last year, with Germany becoming the continent’s largest importer in 2020, followed by Italy.

However, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the cutoff for Europe as a whole is a “probable scenario.”

“Russia is threatening us. Russia uses energy as a weapon,” she said. “Therefore, in any case, whether it is a partial and major cutoff of Russian gas or a complete cutoff of Russian gas, Europe needs to be ready.”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has cut supplies to many countries that have refused to pay for gas in the ruble, such as Poland, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland.

It has also been accused of reducing supplies to make it more difficult for EU countries to build up reserves before winter.

The UK gets less than 5% of gas from Russia, but gas prices are affected by fluctuations in the global market.

The European Commission said a complete blockade during the winter could have a significant impact on the EU economy, reducing growth by up to 1.5%.

The International Monetary Fund warned last week that it would put the European economy in recession, intensify the energy crisis and boost consumer bills.

European countries are trying to build gas stores ahead of winter to build buffers in case Moscow further limits supply.

The proposed 15% reduction will be compared to the average consumption over the same period from 2016 to 2021.

The stored gas will be put into storage, von der Leyen tweeted.

“This is a big requirement for the EU as a whole, but we need to protect it,” she said.

She said some member states are “more vulnerable” to gas supply disruptions and EU countries “must be all ready to share gas.”

The plan was hit by resistance from Poland, which filled gas stores up to 98% of its capacity and did not feel the need to curb its use.

Storage is low in other countries. For example, Hungary is 47% of capacity.

The European Commission has proposed measures that the government can take to curb gas use. This includes compensation for low-use industries and limits on heating and cooling temperatures in public buildings.

The government also needs to decide on the order in which the industry will be forcibly closed in the event of a supply emergency.

Households are classified as “protected consumers” under EU regulations and are protected from such curbs.

EU member states will vote on the Board’s distribution plan at the Energy Ministers’ Meeting on 26 July. — BBC

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/623123/BUSINESS/EU-told-to-prepare-for-Russian-gas-shut-off?ref=rss&format=simple&link=link EU was told to prepare for Russia’s gas cut

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