Government braces for ‘possible’ Russian gas cuts


The Russian government on Sunday called for a “quick entry into fighting order” in response to the possibility of a blanket cut in Russian gas supplies, which Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said was “the most likely option”.

“Let’s prepare for a complete cut-off of Russian gas, which is the most likely option today. This assumes that we accelerate energy independence”, pleaded the number two in the French government, which hopes to use the summer, at an economic conference in Aix-en-Provence. “Put yourself into battle” before winter.

“We are very independent. The first independence has to be energy,” he tapped in Aix.

On the supply side, “we could have tensions over gas this winter”, Prime Minister Elizabeth Bohn warned Saturday in a meeting with the media.

To avoid shortages, the government has mandated that the nation’s gas storage capacity be filled “close to 100%” by early autumn.

“On the power side, normally, according to EDF forecasts, we should have higher production as the 12 reactors (out of 56) that are currently shut down due to corrosion will be restarted,” Ms Born said on Saturday.

But the government is preparing a series of measures aimed at prioritizing households and certain industries for winter if the power runs out.

“Obviously, we’re protecting families and (…) we’re not cutting factories or public transport,” Ms Borne detailed on Saturday.

“We must now arrange our own battle order in terms of organization, shedding, sobriety, reducing consumption…now we have to make a decision,” echoed the economy minister.

– Allocate effort –

Mr Le Maire explained that certain industrial sites could therefore be required to “slow down energy consumption, or even stop it for a period of time”, while noting that some sites were “completely impossible” so as not to “break industrial tools”.

Sources of EU gas imports (AFP – Patricio ARANA)

Facing the risk of Vladimir Poutine cutting off the gas pipeline to Europe, Bruno Le Maire told LCI on the sidelines of the Aix conference, “a solid option ”, we have to “predict the consequences”.

France, which claims it is in a “better” position than its neighbors, must in particular buy a new floating LNG terminal next year to secure its supply.

“We have to distribute the effort between governments, individuals and companies”, explains Bruno Le Maire.

The government has also established three working groups to improve energy conservation in administrations, businesses and institutions open to the public. The goal is to develop a roadmap to reduce energy consumption by 10% over 2019 levels within two years.

“It’s only been a few months, but (it) also has to guide us to make a certain amount of investment decisions and to be imaginative. France has an extraordinary imagination and creativity in terms of energy,” Bruno Le Maire said at the LCI .

The risk of energy shortages doesn’t stop at the French border, as the president of the European Commission on Wednesday called on the EU’s 27 member states to “prepare for further disruptions to gas supplies, even in parts of Russia.»

Germany, which is otherwise more dependent on Russian gas than France, is already on alert. The German Bundestag has adopted a saving plan: for example, increase heating by more than 20 degrees in winter and increase hot water in individual offices.

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