EU targets 15% reduction in natural gas usage

Russia stopped supplying gas through Nordstream1 a week ago, and it is now a possiblilty that supply of natural gas through that pipeline may not resume as scheduled tomorrow (21st July 2022). In response to this situation, the EU Commission will propose a voluntary 15% cut in natural gas usage from all its member states from 1st August until 31st March 2023, The Gas Demand Reduction Plan. The EU Commission will publish regulations to this effect soon.

There are also proposals for “gas sharing” throughout the block. If these voluntary measures are not sufficient, then the regulations will call for mandatory measures (a Union Alert). How this will be enforced remains vague, but, if Nordstream1 does not come back on line as scheduled, then a 15% reduction, even if possible, will simply not be enough. Germany has already imposed emergency measures, but is now considering a level 3 emergency, which will ration gas to businesses, whilst attempting to meet demand from domestic users and vital services, such as hospitals.

Germany finds itself in a quandry over cheap natural gas on the one hand and tough sanctions against Russia on the other. If Nordstream1 does not come back online, Germany could be forced into short time working and mass redundancies, so, what happens tomorrow is vital to Germany and to the EU which relies heavily on the German industrial powerhouse.

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