Will Germany withstand the “countermeasures” imposed by Russia on the West in the field of gas? The announcement was made last night (04.05) and is based on an executive decree of May 3, signed by President Putin for “retaliatory measures” against the Russian sanctions imposed by the West. According to the decree, the Russian side had ten days to announce the content of the “retaliation”. Last night, the names of more than 30 companies operating in the energy sector in the EU, the USA and Singapore, former subsidiaries, were published through the website of the Russian government. of Gazprom. Among them are a number of companies of the German Gazprom, a former subsidiary of the Russian giant of the same name, which the German Ministry of Finance has temporarily placed under the control of the Federal Network Regulatory Authority (Bundesnetzagentur) since the beginning of April.
“They are forbidden”
In today’s clarifying statements the representative of the Kremlin Dmitry Peshkov He said Russia was severing ties with former Gazprom subsidiaries abroad. “These companies can not be parties to proceedings, they are just under a ban and the gas trade with Russia will have to be taken over by other companies,” he said, without elaborating. Gazprom Germania controls other major companies in the German gas industry. Among them is the Wingas gas company, which supplies utilities, including the Astora gas storage company, which is also directly affected by Russian sanctions. According to the Russian agency Interfax, the creation of Russian gas reserves in storage facilities in Europe will be banned in the future.
The sanctions include a ban on all transactions with Russian gas and the entry into Russian ports of ships associated with these companies. The countermeasures also affect the Polish company Europol GAZ, which owns the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline. Speaking in plenary of the German Parliament, Economy Minister Robert Habeck described the Russian countermeasures as an escalation of the conflict in Europe with energy suppliers. “Now the announcements for the conversion of oil and gas into weapons are coming true.” At the same time, it quantified the reduction of Russian gas. “We have a supply that is no longer realized in the amount of ten billion cubic meters of Russian gas per day. However, it can be replaced, although probably at higher prices. The volume corresponds to about 3% of German demand for the rest of the year. The aim of the sanctions against Gazprom-Germania, which is under German control, is obviously to make purchases more expensive. However, measures have been taken to secure new contracts. “
Aim to increase energy reserves
Robert Hubeck hastened to note that at present there is no reason to raise the level of early warning to the second level, that of alarm. “However, the situation could escalate if, for example, the reduced flow of gas through Ukraine continues or there are complications with the payment in rubles, as Russia demands.” Against the background of the coming winter, things become more difficult. In an interview with the weekly financial newspaper Wirtschaftswoche, Habeck said Germany could face a Russian gas embargo under certain conditions from next winter. “If by the time we change we have filled the gas depots, if two of the four floating LNG tankers we rent are connected to the grid, and if we save a significant amount of energy, then we can overcome the difficulties of winter to some extent, in case of interruption of Russian gas supply “. But the strongest message the minister is sending from the Greens is a drastic reduction in consumption. “Less consumption is the alpha and omega for gas, if we achieve a reduction of 10% in industry and households, it is the critical percentage so that we do not find ourselves in a difficult position. Everyone should contribute to it. Better efficiency in “Energy management is a major lever against Putin.” According to the Federal Network Regulatory Authority, the stock level is 36% with an upward trend. In the winter it had dropped to 27%.
It is also the critical factor. The eyes are on the energy giant Uniper based in Düsseldorf, which is the largest importer of Russian gas in Germany, but also Astora, a subsidiary of the German Gazprom. In Germany there are 47 underground gas storage facilities in 33 parts of the country, which are managed by 25 companies, of which Uniper ¼ belongs to.. But the largest tank by volume is under the control of Astora. The tank is located in the town of Renten in Lower Saxony, where 1/5 of the capacity is stored nationally. Of course, lately the warehouses were almost empty. However, Uniper seems to be concerned about the effects of the Russian countermeasures against the German Gazprom. “We will look into the details,” he said today. “The details regarding the supply of the gas storage facilities are not clear.” last year’s average, due to the mild winter, which makes it possible to channel quantities to increase gas reserves by the beginning of autumn.There is a new law that sets minimum volumes for filling tanks on specific dates each year, on October 1st at 80%, on November 1st at 90% and on February 1st at 40%.
Source: DW – Irini Anastassopoulou