The ruling elite in France is warning that companies are likely going to have to cut back on their natural gas usage this winter, as shortages hit. Even though France’s natural gas reserves are nearing full capacity, Energy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said.
The minister said that France’s strategic gas reserves were 80% full at the moment, which meant they will reach 100% capacity before November, according to a report by RT.
“The main players, government agencies and businesses, must reduce their consumption” of gas as well as electricity, because “the latter […] is very often produced on the basis of natural gas. In these circumstances, we must save both: gas and electricity,” Pannier-Runacher told CNews.
France relies heavily on natural gas to get it through the winter. Households and businesses use it as the major fuel source to heat their buildings.
While France is less reliant on Russian gas than other EU countries, neighboring Germany in particular, it’s still warning of shortages. The country generates around three-quarters of its electricity from nuclear power. However multiple nuclear plants were recently shut for maintenance and checks. Unusually hot weather has also affected power generation, with the nation’s largest utility, Electricite de France, saying on Tuesday that some of its power stations will likely produce less electricity in the coming days because high water temperatures in rivers are restricting its ability to cool the plants.
The European Union has been receiving significantly lower amounts of natural gas from its largest supplier, Russia, over the past weeks. This has triggered fears that the flow might stop completely as the bloc is preparing for its upcoming heating season.
Most of Europe has been unwilling to pay Russia in rubles for their natural gas, causing Russia to cut off supplies.
As France braces for Russia to shut off its access to natural gas, the country has turned to oil as an alternative, according to a report by Reuters. The real question is will it be enough?