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Global Economy

The energy market at a glance

Since the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Russia has reduced its gas supplies to Europe, some of them drastically. Some EU countries are no longer receiving gas from Russia – conversely, the energy market also plays an important role in the EU sanctions against Russia. The consequences of the uncertainty in the energy supply are reflected in Germany both in the price development and in the debate on measures to maintain energy security.

How have energy prices developed in Germany?

How much the gas prices will rise is difficult to predict. The price of natural gas depends on many factors. Should Russia continue to throttle gas volumes, experts expect prices to continue to rise. A complete loss of supply from Russia would probably lead to the price peaks of February 2022 of over 200 euros per megawatt hour being reached again.

How much gas does Germany currently store?

The new Energy Storage Act passed in March 2022 stipulates that the storage tanks must be 80 percent full by October 1st and 90 percent by November 1st this year. The low was less than 25 percent in March.

The three-stage gas emergency plan regulates who is no longer supplied or only to a lesser extent in the event of a gas shortage. This provides for prioritization. After that, private households are given preferential treatment. In other words, in the event of a gas crisis, industry must shut down plants first, and private households would be the last to do so. In an emergency, the Federal Network Agency ultimately decides on the distribution.

What is the nationwide gas consumption?

Gas volumes could be saved nationwide by temporarily replacing gas-fired power plants with coal-fired power plants held in reserve. However, this would increase CO2 emissions. Industry and private households could also save energy. The Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) puts the savings potential in private households at 15 percent.

How much gas is currently flowing from Russia to Germany?

In order to further reduce dependence on Russia, the federal government is working flat out to find a substitute for Russian gas. The import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is to be expanded significantly. Four floating LNG terminals are currently planned. The first two are scheduled to go into operation in Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbüttel by the end of the year, the other two in spring 2023. Stade and Hamburg as well as Lubmin in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are being discussed as locations for these.

In addition, at least two stationary LNG terminals are planned for the coming years. Stade, Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven are named as candidates. Imports from LNG terminals in other EU countries are also possible.

Where do the EU countries get their gas from?

Poland, Bulgaria, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and France no longer receive Russian gas. Most of these countries had refused to open a ruble account with Russia's Gazprombank for their payments and to settle the bills in rubles.

Germany obtains gas from Russia primarily through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which directs the natural gas here through the Baltic Sea. But here, too, the quantities are steadily falling. While the share of Russian gas deliveries in Germany was 55 percent in 2021, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs it should be reduced to around 30 percent by the end of 2022, primarily through the purchase of liquefied natural gas, so-called LNG. By the summer of 2024, the federal government considers a further reduction in the share to ten percent of consumption possible.

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