Europe urges countries to cut energy use as Putin tightens grip on gas

The European Commission is proposing new measures so member states are better prepared for winter, when their energy needs are highest. This comes as Gazprom says it cannot fulfill gas contracts with Europe.

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European countries do is reported Rapid curbs on natural gas consumption are part of a broader plan to deal with reduced supplies from Russia.

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, is set to present a plan on Wednesday on how countries can prepare for winter when their energy needs are at their peak.

As the plan comes Russia’s energy giant Gazprom says it cannot fulfill gas contracts with the bloc – Before the invasion of Ukraine was a huge headache for European countries that depended on Russian power.

An EU official, who did not want to be named because the plan is still being finalized, told CNBC Monday that one of the “most controversial” items in the plan is the gas reduction targets.

Confirms details about a A draft document seen by the Financial TimesThe official added that the idea could be controversial because different EU member states have different energy needs, meaning it would be difficult for Germany, one of the biggest importers of Russian energy, to reduce its gas consumption by 5% compared to Spain, for example.

The European Commission declined to comment on the plan ahead of its publication.

The Financial Times reported on Monday that Brussels would tell EU countries to cut gas consumption “immediately” and that gas reduction targets would become mandatory if gas flows were severely disrupted.

The European Union is preparing for a complete cutoff of gas supplies from Russia following Moscow’s attack on Ukraine. However, the level of preparedness appears to be intensifying as concerns grow that Russia could significantly reduce flows to Europe or end them altogether.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline – the main transit point for Russian gas to Europe – is closed for maintenance until July 21. However, many European officials are skeptical that flows will resume at full capacity.

Russia’s energy giant Gazprom said on Monday that gas contracts with Europe could not be fulfilled due to unforeseen circumstances. German energy giant Univer rejected Gazprom’s argument.

This latest development adds to earlier concerns that Russia is nearing a complete shutdown of gas supplies to Europe after Russia. Last month flows were already 60% lower.

“Russia is intensifying its cargo war against Europe by cutting off gas supplies through Nord Stream 1,” Velina Tchakarova, director of the Austria-based think tank AIES, told CNBC.

Russia’s move should be considered a precursor to a total gas blockade ahead of winter, as European storage capacities are not filled to the required level, and European governments will rely heavily on Russian gas supplies. will come under enormous economic pressure.”

European economies are already facing a bleak economic outlook, with inflation at record levels and growth suffering from persistent downward revisions. Much of this economic reality is caused by the energy crisis, greatly accentuated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The upcoming plan to prepare for winter comes as the commission accelerates gas deals with the rest of the world. On Monday, it announced New deal It has signed agreements with Azerbaijan and earlier with the United States.

Europe’s Energy Commissioner Kadri Simpson said gas replenishment levels were above 56% in June, but some member states needed to make more progress in the coming weeks to improve their capacity levels. Last March, the commissioner requested that the minimum savings target should be set at 80 percent by November 1.

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