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Germany declares 'early warning' for potential gas supply disruptions

Germany on Wednesday (March 30) an "early warning" that it could be heading for a gas supply emergency and said the measure was designed to prepare for a possible disruption or stoppage of natural gas flows from Russia.

The move comes ahead of Moscow's plan to present a new mechanism under which gas payments will be switched to roubles, a move that has been rejected by the G7 nations, including Germany, but stoked fears of supply disruptions. Read full story

Under Germany's existing gas emergency plan, the early warning is the first of three stages and does not yet imply state intervention.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a statement that supplies were safeguarded for the time being and that Germany was closely monitoring supply flows with market operators.

"We are taking this step today because it was announced that tomorrow Russian officials will present legal changes which for us signifies a clear breach of contract, by making payment in roubles the law. We obviously don’t know what will be in the legal changes yet. It likely will come down to the details but we want to be prepared for this," Habeck told a news conference.

Habeck said that the team, which includes members of his ministry, the German network regulator, and network operators, would closely monitor the situation "so that - if necessary - further measures could be taken to increase supply security."

The head of German network regulator Bundesnetzagentur, Klaus Mueller, in a tweet said the early warning aimed to avoid a deterioration of supply and urged consumers and industry to prepare for "all scenarios."

If there is a gas supply disruption and Germany does not secure enough gas, the industry will be hit first. It accounts for a quarter of German gas demand.

Private households will have priority over the industry, while hospitals, care facilities, and other public sector institutions with special needs would be the last to be affected by the disruption.

Published : March 30, 2022

By : Reuters