EU tells members to cut gas usage amid new Putin warning – Reuters
The European Union told member states to cut gas usage by 15% until March as an emergency step after President Vladimir Putin warned that Russian supplies sent via the biggest pipeline to Europe could be reduced further.
Putin said that if a turbine in the Nord Stream pipeline is not quickly replaced, the amount of gas pumped to Germany will fall to one-fifth of its capacity.
The last full day before maintenance on the pipeline started, flows stood at around 698 GWh. The disruptions have hampered Europe’s efforts to refill gas storage before winter.
The European Commission proposed a voluntary target for all EU states to cut gas use by 15% from August to March, compared with their average consumption in the same period in 2016-2021. The move would enable Brussels to make the target mandatory in a supply emergency.
Since Russian troops entered Ukraine in February, the EU has banned Russian coal and oil but not natural gas, because the 27-nation bloc depends on it to power factories, generate electricity and heat homes. However, Gazprom has reduced gas deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany by 60 percent.
The Kremlin says Russia is a reliable energy supplier and blames sanctions for reduced flows via Nord Stream 1. Two Russian sources said flows via Nord Stream 1 were expected to restart on Thursday but below capacity of 160 million cubic meters per day.
Putin said Siemens Energy’s gas pumping unit at Nord Stream 1 was out of order and another was due for maintenance. He blamed Kyiv for closing one route via Ukraine.
European nations have been chasing alternative supplies, including LNG from the United States.
European leaders have rejected Russian arguments that they are cutting gas supplies to Europe for political reasons. Putin has argued that Gazprom has always fulfilled its obligations.
For more information on this story, consider the news outlets listed below.
- EU tells members to cut gas usage amid new Putin warning Reuters
- Putin Says Russia to Meet Gas Commitments to Europe but Warns of Nord Stream Cuts The Wall Street Journal
- Putin Signals Gas Pipeline Will Resume at Reduced Levels The New York Times
- Europe races to cut gas usage after Putin warning Reuters
- Russia’s Putin warns Europe gas deliveries could keep dwindling Al Jazeera English
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