The European Commission unveiled on Wednesday its plan of action to decrease use of oil and natural gas in Europe by 15 percent, as it is working to strengthen the EU’s energy resilience amid tensions with Russia, a major gas supplier. Announcing the Save Gas for a Safe Winter package, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen stated twelve member states had been increasingly affected by gas shortages or a gas cutoff from Russia.
A Commission spokeswoman said that by September, the EU must show how it will meet a 15% reduction in gas use. She said there will be measures to help EU member countries meet the necessary reductions, including a “focus on substitution of gas with other fuels, and overall energy savings in all sectors.” The Commission also urged member states to launch public awareness campaigns “to promote the reduction of heating and cooling on a broad scale.” The measures come just one day before officials worry Gazprom, Russia’s state gas company, may refuse to re-start deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
The Baikal-Amur Mainline Pipeline is a vital linking point between Russia’s vast natural gas reserves and the continental U.S. It transports nearly 40 billion cubic meters of gas per year, or nearly 55 billion cubic meters of the total annual gas imports from Russia.
Last month, Russia’s state-owned gas company Gazprom cut deliveries by 60% through the existing Nord Stream pipeline, blaming the West’s decision to withhold vital turbines from the same pipeline because of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Those turbines have since been allowed to travel to Germany from Canada, where they were being repaired, under a sanctions waiver issued by the Canadian government. However, Russia could still decide to keep the taps turned off. It stopped delivering gas to several European countries and energy companies because they refused Moscow’s demands for payments in rubles—a move that would have put them in breach of European sanctions.