30 March 2022
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action said: “Today, following coordination within the Federal Government, I informed the European Commission that the Federal Government has announced the first level of the Emergency Plan for Gas, the ‘early warning level’. Security of supply continues to be ensured. There are no supply bottlenecks at present. Nevertheless, we need to step up our preventive measures in order to be ready to cope with any escalation by Russia. The announcement of the early warning level means that a crisis team has convened. The crisis team analyses and assesses the supply situation so that – if necessary – further measures can be taken to enhance the security of supply. The Federal Government is doing all it can to uphold the security of supply in Germany.”
Last week, Russia announced that it would only be accepting payments for gas imports in roubles. This is a breach of the private-sector supply contracts. In a joint declaration on 28 March 2022, the G7 countries rejected payment in roubles. Despite this, Russia made several statements yesterday making it clear that it would only accept payments in roubles and threatened to halt gas deliveries if such payments are not made. In order to be prepared for potential restrictions or interruptions to supply, the Economic Affairs and Climate Ministry, therefore, announced today the early warning level under Article 11 of the EU Regulation concerning measures to safeguard the security of gas supply and convened the gas crisis team. This means that the current situation in the gas grid will be closely observed and assessed.
The members of the gas crisis team include representatives of the Economic Affairs and Climate Ministry, representatives of the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency), the market area managers for gas and the long-distance gas grid operators, and they are supported by representatives of the Länder. From now on, the gas crisis team will meet regularly in order to monitor the situation on the gas market in the light of daily reports from the long-distance gas grid operators and the market area managers and to advise the minister and state secretaries of the Economic Affairs and Climate Ministry. Where necessary, the operators of the long-distance and distribution gas grids will take network-specific and market-specific measures in line with their responsibility in accordance with sections 16 and 16a of the Energy Industry Act. The European Commission and the neighbouring countries have been informed about the announcement of the early warning level. The Economic Affairs and Climate Ministry is in permanent contact with the European Commission.
At present, the overall supply to all German gas consumers is ensured. Sufficient gas is available on the markets. This applies to residential customers, welfare services like hospitals, district heating, electricity generation and the business sector. With immediate effect, all gas consumers – from industry to households – are called on to reduce their consumption as much as they can.
The Emergency Plan for Gas is based on the “SOS” Regulation, i.e. Regulation (EU) 2017/1938 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2017 concerning measures to safeguard the security of gas supply. It regulates the supply of gas in Germany in a crisis. The Emergency Plan for Gas contains three levels of alert: the early warning level, the alert level and the emergency level. According to Article 11(1) of the SoS Regulation, the early warning level must be announced where there is concrete, serious and reliable information that an event that is likely to result in significant deterioration of the gas supply situation may occur and is likely to lead to the alert or the emergency level being triggered.