The move comes into play amid disruption to supply from Russia, which Moscow blamed on sanctions
The German government launched on Thursday the second "alarm" phase of its three-level emergency plan, which was prepared over possible disruptions to gas supplies. It said the country is facing a crisis with the fuel amid diminishing flows from Russia.
Economy Minister Robert Habeck described the shortage of Russian gas as an "economic attack" on his country by President Vladimir Putin.
"We will defend ourselves against this. But our country is going to have to go down a stony path now," he said.
The introduction of new emergency measures comes after Gazprom moved last week to decrease natural gas deliveries to Germany by 60%. While Berlin slammed the Russian company's decision as "political," Moscow explained: "there is simply nothing to pump with," pointing out that Gazprom was unable to safely maintain gas flow without a turbine that had been sent by Siemens Energy to Canada for maintenance, and not returned. The equipment got stuck there due to economic sanctions that Ottawa imposed on Russia.
The Canadian government said it was exploring ways to fix the problem. "The intent of the sanctions was never to cause significant pain to Germany, which is one of our closest friends and allies," Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson told Bloomberg.
The German regulator of gas distribution networks, Bundesnetzagentur, said it will work to reduce gas consumption by manufacturers in response to the looming emergency. The country is concerned about saving enough for the winter period, its head said.
At the moment, German gas storage facilities are filled to 58% capacity, Berlin said as it introduced the "alarm" stage. It's higher than it was at this time last year. Germany wants to reach 90% capacity by December.
If the highest third phase of the gas emergency plan is triggered, Germany will introduce gas rationing.
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