Russia Shuts Down Major Gas Pipe to Europe for “Repairs”

August 31, 2022

Gas as a weapon.

Meanwhile, disciplined Germans furiously working to save and store gas for the coming winter. Will it be enough?


The nightmare scenario of a cold winter without access to heating seems to be off the table, according to Germany’s economy minister, while Russian gas now accounts for less than 10% of Germany’s consumption.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that targets set by the government for the filling of gas storage facilities had been reached ahead of schedule, staving off the worst fears of severe gas shortagesthis winter.

“The reservoirs are filling up quicker than planned,” he told German magazine Der Spiegel according to a report published on Sunday.

The government target of reaching 85% storage capacity by October could be achieved by the beginning of September, according to Habeck’s ministry.

Germany is currently trying to secure alternative sources of gas to prevent an acute shortage during the cold winter months, as it tries to wean itself off Russian fuel following the invasion of Ukraine.

Germany finds alternative sources

Storage levels have already reached around 82%, according to the European operators’ group GIE. The next target is 95% by November 1, which at the current rate should also be met ahead of time.

However, Russia is planning to shut down the Nord Stream 1 pipeline for three days from August 31. Gas flows from Russia have already been reduced to 20% of the pipeline’s capacity for several weeks.

But while Russian gas accounted for 55% of Germany’s consumption in 2021, this has been squashed down to just 9.5% this August. Gas imports from Norway and the Netherlands now make up the brunt of Germany’s supply.


European natural gas and power prices plunged the most in months after Germany said its stores of the fossil fuel are filling up faster than planned. 

Benchmark Dutch futures and German power slumped more than 20% on Monday, paring the dizzying rally seen in the past few weeks. Gas stores in Germany are expected to be 85% full next month, ahead of an October target, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Sunday. 

While that’s welcome news for the market, the fundamental picture still looks bleak: even with full storage sites, Germany risks not being able to go through the winter if Russia halts flows to the region’s largest economy. In response, the European Union is planning urgent reform of the power market in a bid to dampen the soaring prices.

Big lesson of the OPEC oil embargo and price gouging of the 1970s was how quickly business and industry adjusted and became more efficient. Energy demand turned out to be much more “elastic” than anyone, except maybe Amory Lovins, could understand.

Russia’s gas war is rocket fuel for the transition.


From Twitter via

Francisco Beirau, Head of Gov Affairs EU


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