Emergency measures are being prepared around Europe, confronting reduced Russian gas supplies and fearing even greater cuts. It remains a mystery if the Nord Steam I gas pipeline – linking Russia with Germany, and by extension, other markets – will reopen on July 21. The pipeline was shut yesterday for a 10-day period to undergo maintenance, according to Russian officials.
Anything is possible from July 21 onwards. Russian gas supply through Nord Steam I could increase or may dry up completely.
In response, German officials are preparing to reactivate coal-fired power stations to make up for energy-source insufficiencies prompted by Russia’s reduced gas supply, while, energy-consumption restrictions, including an order urging household members to take fewer hot showers, could also be introduced, if needed.
In France, industries are turning to oil for energy, while Italian oil and gas company ENI has announced Gazprom will cut its gas supply by a further one third.
In Greece, the fiscal pressure caused by the months-long energy crisis, exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine, is seen resulting in a budget deficit of 2 percent in 2022. A fiscal adjustment will be needed to transform this deficit into a 1 percent primary surplus in 2023.
Such a fiscal improvement, however, may not be possible given the current gas and electricity price levels. The government’s electricity-bill subsidy support for consumers is costing between 800 million and one billion euros a month.