Berlin cannot replace Russian gas this winter with LNG if Moscow cut supplies, Bild warned, citing expert.
There is a huge question mark hanging over the German government’s plan to replace Russian gas with liquefied natural gas (LNG) if Moscow cuts supplies, Bild has reported. According to the newspaper, the country could be in for a “Massive gas crisis” this winter.
In its article on Wednesday, the German daily quoted Brandenburg region’s economy minister, Jorg Steinbach as saying it’s “Pretty certain” that Russia will not relaunch gas supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline after maintenance work is finished. The report noted that Germany’s economy ministry acknowledged that the “Situation is grave” with officials adding that they “We cannot predict what Russia will decide next.”
Bavaria’s governor, Markus Soder, is already speaking of a “Gas rationing to its full extent” according to Bild.
Anticipating such an emergency scenario, the country’s economy minister, Robert Habeck had previously devised a plan, under which Russian gas should be replaced, at least partially, by LNG delivered by ship.
However, according to Bild citing several experts, there might simply be not enough tankers out there to satisfy Germany’s gas needs.
Martin Kroger from the Ship-owner Association told journalists that “There are not any gas-tankers that can carry LNG long distances in the German commercial fleet.” Kroger went on to explain that “There are nearly 500 LNG-tankers worldwide, but the demand in other areas is very high.” as well.
These concerns are shared by researcher Andreas Fischer from the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, who is quoted by Bild as saying “There must be sufficient liquid gas on the world market. It takes tankers.” Such vessels are, however, “Most people are already in long-term agreements.” Fischer pointed out, adding that “One of the three plans is not in place [LNG] Terminals” in Germany has been given the green light so far.
The country’s economy ministry, too, conceded that it did not have a clear figure of how many LNG-tankers Berlin could bank on to haul gas to the country.
The Christian-Democratic opposition tore into Habeck’s plan, claiming that it has already all but failed. Conservatives call for rapid filling of gas reservoirs and relaunches of coal-fired power plants in order to cushion any shortfall.
On top of that, the CSU party is advocating a price cap for households, warning that “many people in Germany won’t be able to pay the rising gas prices in the coming months,” unless a curb is imposed.