German gas squeeze will last two winters, regulator says

The threat of gas shortages will hang over Germany for the next two winters, according to the head of the country’s energy regulator.

But even if Russia stops supplying Germany with natural gas, other countries like Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium could help toward making up the shortfall, said Klaus Müller, president of Germany’s energy regulator, the Federal Network Agency.

“We will probably have to live with the threat of running out of gas for two winters,” Müller said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag published Saturday night.

While appealing for people not to panic, Müller said that Germany does not currently have enough gas stored up to get through the coming winter without Russian supplies and added that a lot is riding on whether the Nord Stream 1 pipeline starts pumping again after maintenance work finishes this week.

Russian energy giant Gazprom said Thursday that it could not guarantee a crucial turbine being fixed in Canada would be enough to get Nord Stream 1 up and running again. The European Commission is poised to publish a winter energy plan for EU governments entitled “Save gas for a safe winter.”