Germany Will ‘Freeze’ Without Russian Gas, Energy Executive Warns
19:39 GMT 18.11.2021 (Updated: 21:18 GMT 19.10.2022)
Germans face a bitter winter as natural gas market prices have soared again — after the national energy regulator apparently bowed to Russophobic and environmentalist lobbies and suspended the approval process for a new heating gas pipeline.
A German energy executive has warned his country will "freeze" this winter if authorities continue to block the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Brazilian journalist and global affairs pundit Pepe Escobar quoted an anonymous industry chief as his source in his latest column for the Unz Review
on German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur's decision to suspend the certification of the newly-finished pipeline.
That decision has sent gas prices soaring to levels approaching those in September and October — until assurances from Russian President Vladimir Putin that national gas firm Gazprom would honour all existing contracts calmed jitters.
Escobar argued that the regulator was holding off on approving vital supplies via the trans-Baltic conduit until a new coalition government is formed in the wake of the September 26 general election.
That coalition, expected to be led by Olaf Scholtz's Social Democrats, is likely to include the "neoliberal" Greens, who he called "viscerally anti-Nord Stream and anti-Russia," Escobar wrote.
The journalist said a second motive was to treat Russia as a whipping-boy for Belarus, which has responded to European Union (EU) sanctions banning its airlines from entering the bloc's airspace by flying alternative routes to the Middle East.
Thousands of would-be asylum seekers
have since flown to the non-EU European nation to attempt to cross the border
"This a game where Germany does not hold a winning hand," the executive said. "Gazprom is very professional. But imagine if Gazprom decided to deliberately slow down their deliveries of natural gas. It could go up tenfold, collapsing the entire EU."
The industry insider pointed out that while Moscow has other markets for its huge gas reserves in the far east, the EU does not have a realistic alternative supplier — even from expensive liquified natural gas (LNG) imports from the US and the United Arab Emirates.
"Russia has China. But Germany does not have a workable contingency plan," they said. "If Germany does not obtain their oil and natural gas by land now they cannot fashion a fallback position, as there is not sufficient LNG capacity or oil for that matter to supply the EU this winter."
16 November 2021, 10:11 GMT
European gas stocks were severely depleted by a combination of unusually cold winter in 2020-21 and the failure of renewable solar and wind generators to reach full potential due to calm winds and overcast skies.
Outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel
called this week for government aid to poorer households who could struggle to afford to heat their homes in coming months.
Germans face a long, cold winter without Russian gas via Nord Stream 2, the executive warned.
"They are going to freeze," they said. "Much of their economy will be forced to shut down. Unemployment will soar. It would take four years to build up LNG capacity for natural gas but who will build it for them?"