Habeck: Fear of a complete gas stop – prices could triple

Germany’s Economics Minister Robert Habeck believes it is possible that Russia will no longer deliver any gas after the maintenance interval for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.

When asked the relevant question, he said in RTL Nachtjournal on Thursday: “I would have to lie if I said I’m not afraid of it.” Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on ZDF that gas should no longer be used to generate electricity due to the current shortages.

Two and a half months without gas deliveries possible

It is needed for heating and for certain industrial processes, added Lindner. If the gas storage tanks were completely filled, Germany would get by for two and a half months without deliveries from Russia, the head of the German Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, told ZDF. This applies to an average cold winter. As a result, Germany needs additional suppliers and must also save gas.

The Federal Network Agency is now warning of a “very difficult situation in autumn or winter”.

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Technical problems actually political measure

Habeck believes that the argument of technical problems was put forward by the Kremlin, rather it is a political measure. “And who knows what the next political measure will be. Well, I’m not without worries.” When asked if he could imagine the gas bills trebling, Habeck said: “That can’t be ruled out (…) yes, that’s within the realm of possibility.” A price wave is coming to Germany that can no longer be averted.

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Effective sanctions against Russia

According to Habeck, the reduced deliveries of Russian gas could also be interpreted as a sign of effective sanctions against Russia. “It’s true, Putin gets money from selling fossil fuels, but he can buy less and less of it because the West has sanctioned so many goods,” Habeck said on RTL Direkt, according to a broadcaster’s statement. “And because he can’t buy anything with this money anymore, he says: Then I won’t need the money anymore and I’ll reduce the gas. That’s also a sign that the sanctions are extremely effective.”

Domino effect and severe recession feared

In view of the impending guest shortage, Habeck fears a domino effect leading to a severe recession. “The risk that energy suppliers may get into an economic situation where they can no longer borrow money on the market to buy gas” is high, said Habeck in the ARD daily topics according to the advance notice. It must be prevented “that they fall out of the market”.

He fears “a kind of Lehman Brothers effect in the energy market”, which will then also affect public utilities, commercial and industrial companies and consumers. “And then you have a domino effect that would lead to a severe recession.” He will take care to prevent that, so Habeck.

Meanwhile, a majority of Germans advocated longer operation of the nuclear power plants. According to the ARD Germany trend, 61 percent of those surveyed were in favor of extending the running times beyond the end of the year, while 32 percent were against it, it said.

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