Germany raises alert level on natural gas

Germany raised the alert level on Thursday to continue securing gas supplies, a mechanism that puts the country close to rationing measures after Russia cut deliveries via the Nord Stream pipeline by 60%.

“We are in a gas crisis, which has become a rare resource,” said Economy Minister Robert Habeck.

This alert level gives the government the possibility to “support” the market in the face of high prices.

The third and final stage of the plan is the “level of urgency” and allows the State to organize rationing, with the objective of distributing gas between individuals, public buildings and companies.

Last week, gas supplies to Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline fell by 60%. Russian group Gazprom claimed a technical problem.

But for the German government this was a “political decision” at a time of tension between Russia and Western countries over the war in Ukraine, which began in late February and prompted major international sanctions against Moscow.

At the moment, Germany’s reserves are at 58%, a level higher than in recent years. But if supply via Nord Stream continues “at a low level”, the 90% reserve level recommended by German winter law will not be reached, according to the ministry.

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