Comment: Ukraine throttles natural gas from Russia: The emergency is here

Ukraine is diverting less gas west from Russia. A warning sign. Our author believes that Germany must draw conclusions from this.

The squirrel feeds with difficulty. Since the cold winter days are over, they have been increasing Levels of gas storage in Germany slowly on again. Every cubic meter more gives a bit more certainty that we won’t be left out in the cold next winter and the lights will not go out in industry.

It is true that the winter this year was not particularly cold. But because of the upcoming conflict over Ukraine the reserves were already lower than usual in the autumn. Even with a current filling level of around 39 percent, there is less gas stored in the underground caverns than in other years at this time. But at least – the memory is slowly filling up again.

Ukraine crisis – all the news about the conflict

Energy: Is Germany’s gas supply really not at risk?

But now the unexpected happens. For security reasons, Ukraine switches an important gas pipeline in a Russian-occupied area in the Luhansk region. The pipeline accounts for a third of all gas transport from Russia westwards through Ukraine. The emergency is here.

Now all official bodies in Germany are asserting that the new developments in Ukraine are causing the gas supply is not acutely endangered in this country. Instead, more natural gas can be imported from the Netherlands and Norway in the short term. In addition, flow through the important Baltic Sea Pipeline Nord Stream 1 continues to transport large amounts of natural gas to Germany.

But the incident shows how urgent the question of gas supply is, how many imponderables there are – and that we don’t just have to look at the warmonger Russia on this issue. Also the transit countries Ukraine and Moscow-dependent Belarus play an important role here. You can also turn off the gas tap in Europe for a variety of reasons.

Dependence on Russia: Germany is in a tight spot when it comes to gas supplies

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, EU countries have been working flat out to free themselves from dependence on Russian energy. By phasing out supplies of coal, oil and gas as quickly as possible, the West wants to prevent it from using its billion payments continues to fund the war of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

at coal and oil switching to new sources of supply works surprisingly quickly. Both energy sources can be obtained comparatively easily on the world market and brought to Germany by ship. Only when it comes to gas is Europe stuck because of the particularly large import volumes from Russia, a lack of alternative sources and lack of infrastructure and transport options are in a bind – and will not be able to break free from the dependency so quickly.

Ukraine war: Further escalation is a threat to energy security

But the clock is ticking. If the war in Ukraine escalates further, there could be further restrictions on gas transport without warning. Russia could also suddenly stop exporting – or the EU could become one immediate gas embargo see forced.

Germany would be hit hard. Heating systems in millions of households depend on gas. The chemical industry is also dependent on the energy source. And in glass production, without gas, the furnace literally runs out – Thousands of jobs are at stakewhen there are serious cuts in supply.

The government must therefore do everything in its power to ensure that Independence from Russian gas even earlier than planned. At the same time she has to energy transition advance massively. Carbon neutrally produced hydrogen for example, natural gas can replace it in many cases – and thus reduce dependence on energy imports.

Ukraine war – background and explanations for the conflict

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