- Germany has inked a deal with natural gas suppliers to keep two terminals stocked through the winter.
- It gives the country a buffer as Europe prepares for a winter with deep cuts to Russian energy flows.
- Germany has called supply cuts by Russia "blackmail" against Europe.
Germany has inked a deal with natural gas suppliers to keep two gas terminals stocked throughout winter, providing a needed buffer as Europe prepares to be cut off from Russian energy.
The nation secured a memorandum of understanding with Uniper and Virginia Natural Gas on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The two firms will work with German natural gas suppliers to keep two floating gas terminals in Brunsbuettel and Wilhelmshaven fully stocked with LNG, to last from this winter through March 2024.
Its good news for Germany, as the country has been slowly choked off from Russia's gas supply over the summer in retaliation by Moscow for European sanctions on Russian oil products, which are expected to take full effect by year-end.
On Monday, Klaus Müller, a top German energy regulator, said the nation would have to reduce its natural gas consumption by at least 20% to save up for winter, up from the previous goal of reducing consumption by 15% from August this year to March 2023.
"We need enough for at least two winters, not just one," Müller said to the Financial Times, on the need for more supply, emphasizing that the nation needed to avoid emptying its current gas storages. As of this week, the country reached 75% of its storage capacity, and the new deal with LNG suppliers will provide an additional buffer.
In addition to the memorandum, Germany has also implemented energy auctions, goals on energy rationing, and a new tax on utilities to help fill the hole left by Russian supplies, which comprised 40% of Europe's gas consumption prior to the invasion of Ukraine.
"Putin's goal is to unsettle, drive up prices, divide society and to weaken support for Ukraine," German's economy minister Robert Habeck said in a statement last month, adding that use of natural gas was a form of "blackmail" against Europe. "We don't bow to it but counteract this with concentrated and consistent action. We take precautions so that we can get through the winter."