Mar 30, 2022 - World

Germany triggers first step of energy plan to ration gas

A natural gas storage in Rehden, Germany, owned by a subsidiary of Gazprom.
A natural gas storage in Rehden, Germany, owned by a subsidiary of Gazprom. Photo: Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/picture alliance via Getty Images

Germany initiated the first step of an emergency energy plan on Wednesday to preempt a potential disruption or halt in gas supplies from Russia, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: The unprecedented move indicates that the European Union is concerned that President Vladimir Putin's demands that Europe and the United States pay for gas exports in rubles could result in a Russian gas cut-off.

  • Germany imports more than 50% of its natural gas and coal from Russia. Any disruption to those imports would make Europe's energy crisis much worse.

Thought bubble, via Axios' Ben Geman: There have long been concerns that Putin could deploy the "energy weapon," but natural gas flows have thus far continued.

  • So the German action signals how this possibility is moving higher on the radar.

The big picture: German officials have criticized Putin's demands as a breach of contract.

  • The first phase of Germany's plan creates a crisis team of private sector officials, economics ministry officials and regulators to monitor imports and storage of gas and would allow regulators to ration gas if supplies fall short, according to Reuters.

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