Germany declares 'early warning' for potential gas supply disruption from Russia

Under Germany's existing gas emergency plan, the early warning is the first of three stages. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Germany declared on Wednesday (March 30) an "early warning" that it could be heading for a gas supply emergency and said the measure was designed to prepare for a possible disruption or stoppage of natural gas flows from Russia.

The move comes ahead of Moscow’s plan to present a new mechanism under which gas payments will be switched to roubles, a move that has been rejected by the Group of Seven (G-7) nations, including Germany, but stoked fears of supply disruptions.

Under Germany's existing gas emergency plan, the early warning is the first of three stages and does not yet imply state intervention.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a statement that supplies were safeguarded for the time being and that Germany was closely monitoring supply flows with market operators.

"Nevertheless, we must increase precautionary measures to be prepared for an escalation on the part of Russia. With the declaration of the early warning level, a crisis team has convened," Mr Habeck said in a statement.

He said that the team, which includes members of his ministry, the German network regulator and network operators, would closely monitor the situation "so that - if necessary - further measures can be taken to increase supply security".

The head of German network regulator Bundesnetzagentur, Mr Klaus Mueller, in a tweet said the aim of the early warning was to avoid a deterioration of supply and urged consumers and industry to prepare for "all scenarios".

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