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Europe Prepares For A Gas Crisis



Europe is preparing itself for the possibility of a full-blown gas crisis later this week, which comes at the same time as a record-breaking heatwave, which has increased the demand for energy to help cool down the continent’s homes and businesses.

After undergoing normal maintenance for the past ten days, the important Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which acts as a vital artery connecting Russia’s gas to the bloc, is scheduled to return on Thursday. However, there is a growing danger that Russia will keep the taps turned off as a form of retaliation for the sanctions that the European Union has imposed on Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine in February.

At the beginning of this month, Germany’s Minister of the Economy Robert Habeck stated that the nation had to “prepare for the worst.”

“Anything can happen. It could be that the gas flows again, even more than before. It could be that nothing will come at all, “In a radio interview, Habeck made the following statement.

The pipeline is responsible for around 40 percent of Europe’s total pipeline imports of gas from Russia and provides 55 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe annually.

There is the possibility of completely severing ties with Moscow’s gas supply. The government has already reduced the amount of gas it sells to a number of countries in Europe. Germany, the region’s largest economy, declared a “gas crisis” one month ago after Gazprom, Russia’s national gas corporation, cut exports through the pipeline by sixty percent. This caused Germany to make the declaration.
Gazprom has placed the responsibility for the move on the decision made by the West to withhold essential turbines due to sanctions.

For Monday, the German gas distributor Uniper announced that it had received a letter from Gazprom alleging a force majeure on previous and ongoing deficits in gas delivery. The letter was received on Friday. A clause in a contract that excuses a corporation for failing to meet its obligations due to circumstances beyond its control is called a force majeure clause. It is often only used in really dire situations, such as when there has been a natural disaster.


However, a representative for Uniper reported in a recent interview that the company has “officially refuted” the accusation. In addition, the troubled company utilized a €2 billion ($2.04 billion) credit facility with bank KfW on Monday due to the impact that problems in Russian gas supply have had on the company.

A shortage of gasoline during this week would come at the worst possible time. Temperatures are expected to climb above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) over the next few days in Europe, which is already sweltering under record heat. Parts of France and Spain are currently battling wildfires as temperatures are expected to climb above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) over the next few days.

The increased use of air conditioning has led to an increase in the amount of electricity that is needed to power it. The operator of Spain’s gas transmission system, Enagas, reported the previous week that demand for natural gas to produce power reached a new record of 800-gigawatt hours.

Given Europe’s other sources of power and the fact that the heatwave is predicted to end by the middle of the week, some analysts were more optimistic than others. During this time, countries in Europe are working feverishly to stock their gas storage facilities before the onset of winter in order to forestall an energy shortage that may have disastrous consequences.

According to data provided by Gas Infrastructure Europe, the level of gas storage capacity across the European Union now stands at approximately 64 percent.

As the EU works to reduce the amount of gas it imports from Russia, it is working quickly to secure gas supplies from other countries. A critical gas distribution route is going to have its capacity increased by 50 percent over the next five years according to a memorandum of agreement that the European Commission signed with Azerbaijan on Monday.

According to the statistics provided by the Intercontinental Exchange, prices for Dutch natural gas, which is used as the European benchmark, increased by 3 percent from Friday’s level to reach €165 ($167) per megawatt hour on Monday.

Fears of a big gas cutoff drove prices up earlier this month, pushing them to their highest levels since the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. At that time, prices were hovering around €183 ($186) per megawatt hour. Since the beginning of the year, there has been a 129 percent increase in price.


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