In the midst of the global gas crisis, the European Union sought to develop contingency plans on Wednesday to reduce gas demand within months. He warned countries that without deep cuts now, they could struggle to get fuel during the winter if Russia cuts supplies.
According to Reuters, “we believe that a full-blown disturbance is possible, and it is especially likely if we do not act and leave ourselves vulnerable to it.” If we wait, it will be more expensive, and it will mean that we are dancing to Russia. ”
Europe is racing to fill its gas reserves before winter and build a reserve stock in case Moscow restricts supplies in response to European support for Ukraine in its war with Russia. Russia’s Gazprom has already halted deliveries to some European Union countries.
The European Commission will urge countries to prepare for additional cuts by reducing gas consumption. A draft EU plan, seen by Reuters, proposes a voluntary target for countries to reduce their demand for gas over the next eight months, which could become legally binding in the event of a supply emergency. EU officials said the goal would be to cut between 10–15% of gas use.
The proposal, which may change before it is published, will need the approval of the European Union countries that are largely responsible for their own energy policies. There has been resistance from small and medium-sized countries who feel that their contingency plans do not need support from Brussels.
“We are against imposing mandatory reduction targets,” Polish Climate Minister Anna Moscow said last week. Poland filled its gas reserves to 98% of capacity after Russia halted gas shipments to the country in April.
The draft document said a full cut in Russian gas, along with a cold winter, could cut the EU’s average GDP by 0.9-1.5% if countries fail to prepare.
It proposed measures to reduce gas use, including government tenders for the industry to obtain compensation for using less gas. She added that governments also had to decide the order in which they would force industries to close in the event of a supply emergency. Gas deliveries via Russia’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany are scheduled to resume on Thursday after annual maintenance.
There were fears among governments that flows would not resume, which could exacerbate the gas crisis that led to higher consumer bills. Sources told Reuters that flows are likely to resume, but at less than full capacity.