Germany’s gas supply is running at alert level with government predictions suggesting a tough winter ahead, leading to an even tougher choice- keep supplying European countries or keep gas for citizens.
Russia’s state-owned gas giant Gazprom reduced flows through Nord Stream 1 to 40% of the sticker capacity. With the pipeline scheduled for maintenance in July, there are fears in Berlin and the industry that gas flows might not resume afterwards, putting Germany in a real bind.
Avoiding a gas shortage “is only possible under the assumption that we do not send gas from our stores to neighbouring European countries,” explained Robert Habeck, Germany’s vice-chancellor, on Thursday.
If flows through Nord Stream 1 remain at 40% and Germany continues the level of its exports to European neighbours, the country would face a gas shortage at the beginning of February 2023, the federal network agency predicts.
Nineteen Terawatt hours (TWh) of gas would be missing unless 20% of gas savings and significant liquefied natural gas import capacity worth 13 bcm could be built up.
Without the gas from Nord Stream 1 and continued exports, the situation would be even worse. Gas shortages would begin in mid-December, totalling a missing amount of 107 TWh. With 20% gas savings and LNG import capacity in place, 44 TWh would still be missing.
Reductions in gas flows are estimated to be at 60% of the normal exports to European countries, based on the reduction from 16 to 20 June.
Without Russian gas next winter, Germany will face a tough choice as early as mid-December. If its neighbours are supplied, its industry may have to go without.