The European Commission is planning for all scenarios regarding gas flows to Europe through Russia’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline, including the possibility that deliveries do not restart on Thursday when maintenance on the pipeline is due to end, a spokesperson said.
“We are working on every possible scenario, and one of the scenarios that we have to factor in contingency planning is the possibility of flows not restarting,” the spokesperson for the European Union executive told a press briefing on Tuesday.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that the Commission did not expect Nord Stream 1 to restart after its annual 10-day maintenance, quoting European Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
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“We’re working on the assumption that it doesn’t return to operation,” Hahn told reporters in Singapore, according to the Journal.
Asked about those comments, the spokesperson said the Commission was basing its contingency planning for gas supplies this winter on the assumption that there could be a complete halt to Russian gas flows.
“We are working on the worst possible scenario. And that scenario, and assumption therefore, is that Gazprom would no longer deliver any gas to Europe... We are basing our winter preparedness plans on the worst possible scenario,” he said.
The Commission will publish plans on Wednesday for how EU countries could cut gas demand now, as Brussels braces for further drops in Russian gas deliveries and attempts to fill gas storage ahead of winter.
A draft of the EU plan, seen by Reuters, would suggest countries launch financial incentives for companies to cut gas use, and use state aid to encourage industries and power plants to switch to other fuels.
EU officials said the Commission was also considering setting targets for countries to curb gas use - but that discussions were ongoing about whether such targets would be binding or voluntary.
Reuters reported on Monday that Russia’s Gazprom had told customers in Europe it cannot guarantee gas supplies because of “extraordinary” circumstances, adding to fears that Moscow may not restart the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Thursday.
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