German Chancellor: Germany will probably have to endure winter
The Chancellor of Germany said that the country "probably" can still manage this winter amid a three-day shutdown of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline which is currently undergoing maintenance, raising worries about a definite shutdown of Russian gas deliveries to Germany.
Germany has taken a big package of measures, and even if Russia no longer supplies gas to Germany, the country "probably" can still manage this winter, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday.
Nord Stream 1, the main pipeline supplying Europe with Russian natural gas, was operating at 40% of its capacity since mid-June and at 20% from the end of July. Russian energy giant Gazprom attributed lower volumes to the problems with maintenance and repair of the Siemens turbines.
The pipeline was recently shut down due to maintenance and is expected to resume the flow of gas in three days. The frequent shutdowns are however raising concerns for Germany.
The priority right now is to ensure the supply of energy sources, such as coal, oil, and gas, from Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, and through the Western European direction, according to Scholz.
"However, if Russia halts deliveries, which it keeps reducing, then we can increase deliveries from Norway, the Netherlands, from the Western European direction," Scholz said at a meeting with fellow citizens in the western city of Essen.
Scholz noted that the country is currently building liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals on the North German coast, on the North and Baltic Seas, as well as pipelines to additionally import products. The first terminals will be launched next January. A decision was also made to fill the country's gas storage facilities. In addition, the government decided to resume the operation of coal-fired power plants.
"And in this regard, we can now say that even if it is very difficult, we can probably manage this winter," the minister emphasized.
During a series of dialogues with citizens, in the format of a city assembly, the official plans to visit all 16 federal states of Germany. The first of these meetings took place in the summer in Lubeck and then in Magdeburg.
In response to the special operation in Ukraine, Western countries have rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign aimed, in particular, at Russian energy resources.
Italy and Germany are now the two largest EU countries most exposed to a gas supply shock due to their extensive use of natural gas and significant reliance on Russia, according to S&P Global Ratings.
On August 8, it was reported that millions of German lower-income households will find it hard to pay their energy bills this winter amid a sharp rise in gas prices, according to Lukas Ievenkotten, head of the German Renters' Association.
Germany has also issued recommendations weeks ago to slow or halt the consumption of gas in order to stock up for the coming winter.
On August 16, German Economy and Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck lamented the entirety of the country's business model, dismissing it as reliant on cheap energy imports from Russia that will never return.
Three days ago, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soder said negotiations with foreign partners have not yet helped Germany to find an alternative to Russian gas, lamenting that "visits that were made previously — to Qatar, Norway, Canada — did not help to find a replacement."