An emergency plan to reduce gas consumption agreed by the EU member states was approved at a special meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels.
The countries of the European Union have agreed on an emergency plan to cut gas consumption. It was overwhelmingly approved at a special meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels on Tuesday, July 26, said the Czech Mission to the EU. The Czech Republic currently holds the EU presidency.
The purpose of the new plan is to reduce the risks that may arise from a complete cessation of gas supplies from Russia. According to sources in diplomatic circles, the plan proposed by the European Commission aims at reducing the national consumption of gas in the period from August 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023 by 15 percent.
In addition, the possibility of an alert within the EU in the event of a large-scale shortage of gas supplies is envisaged. Mandatory savings targets for gas consumption are also to be set, and the barriers to these targets have been raised compared to the European Commission's first draft and the number of possible exceptions to the plan has been increased.
Gazprom to cut gas supplies again
Earlier, on July 25, Gazprom announced the shutdown of another Siemens turbine at the Portovaya compression station which is responsible for pumping through the Nord Stream pipeline, explaining this by the need for repair work. Due to the decommissioning of the turbine, gas supplies via Nord Stream will be reduced to 33 million cubic meters per day starting July 27, which will account for about 20% of the throughput.
On the same day, it was reported that German company Siemens Energy sent to Gazprom an export license issued by Canada, which allows repair, maintenance and transportation of turbines for the Portovaya compression station of the Nord Stream pipeline.
German Minister of Economics blames Putin
The day before, on July 22, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck accused Putin of using gas leverage against Germany. “We have to admit that Putin is using this gas lever against us,” Habeck said on the German public broadcaster ZDF.
Habeck called Moscow’s explanation of the turbine for Nord Stream, for the lack of which it refused to resume supplies, “a far-fetched argument” and “an untenable game”. Gazprom has enough turbines, Habeck said.
And on July 21, Gazprom resumed gas deliveries via Nord Stream, despite fears to the contrary. It was on the assumption that 67 million cubic meters of natural gas would be delivered every day. This would correspond to the volume of deliveries before the repair, but is only 40% of the design capacity.