Oktoberfest and Christmas Markets may be cancelled this year due to Russian gas insufficiences

Germany is looking for ways to save gas for the coming winter. Gas storage in the country is nowhere near the levels necessary for the coming seasonal demand. This is primarily due to Gazprom reducing gas flows in the Nordstream 1 pipeline. Gas deliveries are now 80% down on this time last year. Gazprom has stated that this is due to problems with turbines for the pipeline, and the fact that maintenance cannot be carried out due to sanctions imposed by western countries such as Canada where the regular maintenance is usually carried out.

This is a major problem for the Germans who rely heavily on Russian natrual gas. In particular, the German car industry uses 33% of all the gas supplied to Germany, so they will be hit hard, although layoffs and redundancies are, as yet, not being contemplated. Measures are already being implemented to try to save what little gas has already been stored. Measures such as reducing time spent in the shower, cutting hot water and air conditioning in public buildings, turning off lighting in town and city centres at night and dimming streetlamps, have been ordered, and it is now being suggested that Oktoberfest celebrations and traditional Christmas Markets be cancelled.

Germany is the largest economy in the EU and so, what happens in Germany affects the rest of the block. The EU recently gained agreement on voluntary measures to cut gas usage in all member states by 15%, and also to promote sharing of natural gas resources and LNG supplies. These measures may become mandatory if all member countries agree, but as yet, there is little appetite for that. The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia, and member states have supplied armaments to Ukraine in an attempt to end the Russian aggression. Some say, the throttling of gas supplies is in retaliation for these measures.

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