Spanish government warns there might not be enough gas supply next winter

Image of a gas flame burning. Credit: Marian Weyo/Shutterstock

The amount of gas in Spain might not be sufficient to supply businesses and homes the government has warned.

Teresa Ribera, the Spanish Minister of the Environment, has stressed in Congress today, Thursday, June 30, the need to “strengthen national contingency plans and strengthen savings policies, and propose measures for the hypothetical case that it is necessary to prioritise the availability of energy resources among consumers”.

Her warning comes after months of the Government assuring that the energy situation in Spain was not as critical as in central and eastern European countries due to its lower dependence on Russian gas. Ms Ribera basically highlighted the fact that there is not enough gas to supply everyone, and that decisions will have to be made between supplying businesses or homes.

Ribera described the energy situation as ‘worrying’ after the continued cut in the amount of gas that Gazprom sends to the EU.  Germany has already raised its alert level and the three main French energy companies have asked the French to “minimise your consumption from now on”. 

Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson had also warned of a similar scenario in Brussels earlier this week during meetings of energy ministers. “Things are likely to be more difficult in the coming months”, Simson said. He heads a department that envisions various scenarios, including worst of all, a total Russian gas cut-off that leaves Europe without enough energy.

Speaking before Congress, the minister warned that: “Although better stopped, Spain cannot neglect its response and works so that this hypothesis never materialises”, as reported by 20minutos.es.

In July, the European Commission will present a plan of energy-saving measures to the Member States, which at the moment Spain only applies to public offices. To prepare, EU countries will have to reach 90 per cent of the capacity of their natural gas stores by October 31, in order to: “spend the winter with peace of mind”.

“At the moment, the underground storage tanks in Spain are at 72 per cent capacity and those of liquefied natural gas, around 80 per cent”, Ribera @mitecogob assured Congress. These figures are “hugely positive compared to France (57 per cent), Italy (55 per cent) and Germany (42 per cent).

However, Ribera apparently avoided reassuring those who repeatedly asked her “if there will be gas to spend the winter and at what price”. She also evaded responding directly when asked if rationing measures would have to be imposed. When questioned about how to choose who to supply energy to, in case there is not enough for everyone, it went unanswered.

Describing the energy situation in Spain and the rest of Europe as ‘worrying’, Ribera agreed with groups such as ERC in diagnosing that it will not end in the short term. For this reason, she asked Congress for “a sense of the State to protect consumers, the middle classes, and the productive sectors, to distribute the effort equitably to deploy the ecological transition. If before it was urgent for climatic reasons, today it is for economic and social justice reasons”.

 

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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