On Wednesday, the European Union will present emergency plans to reduce gas demand in three months.
This warning is made to countries that have not taken deep cuts and could face fuel shortages during winter if Russia stops deliveries.
Europe is racing ahead to fill its gas storage before winter, and to build a supply buffer in the event that Russia further reduces supplies as retaliation for European support of Ukraine in its war against Russia.
Gazprom in Russia has already stopped deliveries to certain EU states, and EU officials warned that more cuts are possible.
Johannes Hahn, Budget Commissioner, said: The #EU doesn't expect #Russia to restart gas flows through the key Nord Stream pipeline this week – the clearest indication yet that the bloc is bracing for the worst. https://t.co/Vjtg34iUUt
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The European Commission will urge countries to reduce their gas consumption in order to be prepared for such a scenario. Reuters has seen a draft of the EU plan. It would set a voluntary goal for EU countries to reduce their gas consumption over the next eight months.
This could become legally binding if Europe faces a crisis in gas supplies.
The proposal will need to be approved by the EU countries. They are mostly responsible for their energy policies.
The draft stated that the draft was a signal to all public agencies, consumers, households and owners of public buildings and power suppliers that they must take extraordinary and quick measures to save gas.
The draft did not include the exact number of the target reduction and could be changed before publication.
The draft plan suggests a range of measures that governments could take, including launching financial incentives to companies to reduce gas consumption, using state aid for industries and power plants to switch fuels, and creating information campaigns to convince consumers to use less cooling and heating.
According to the draft, which may change before publication, measures that target industry could include tenders or auctions in which large consumers would be compensated for using less gas.
It also suggested that governments should decide in what order they will force industries to close due to a supply crisis.
After annual maintenance, gas deliveries to Germany via Russia’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline will resume on Thursday.
Governments have expressed concern that flow will not resume, which could worsen a gas crisis that has seen consumer bills soar. Sources indicated to Reuters that flows will likely resume but at a lower capacity.
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