European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen.
- The European Union asked countries to cut natural gas consumption by 15% starting next month.
- The voluntary cut would become mandatory if the energy situation worsens.
- Russia’s Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline is set to come back online Thursday but at reduced levels.
The European Union should prepare to cut gas demand by 15% by August 1, under a proposal announced Wednesday, in anticipation of reduced supplies from Russia.
The European Commission’s proposed voluntary reduction would last until March of next year and could become mandatory if the energy situation worsens.
The proposal follows a report that Moscow’s Nord Stream 1 pipeline will resume flows this week, although below its full-capacity of 167 million cubic-meters per day. Russian gas deliveries via Nord Stream were already cut by 60% before it went offline for annual maintenance, which ends Thursday.
Still, the EU should prepare for a full cutoff from Russian gas and reduce consumption, the European Commission said Wednesday.
If gas flows from Moscow further deteriorate, the commission said, the situation would trigger a so-called “EU alert” that would make its proposal binding policy. Member countries will report their progress toward the cutback every two months.
The effort to curb gas demand underscores just how dire the energy crisis in Europe has become, and the difficulty with leaning on alternative sources as the West sanctions Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Russia provided European countries with roughly 40% of its gas consumption in 2021.