Germany has given an early warning of a possible gas supply disruption following payment disagreement with Russia.
Robert Habeck, German economy minister on Wednesday urged consumers and companies to reduce consumption in anticipation of possible shortages.
Russia has demanded that payment for its gas should be made in roubles by countries it termed ‘unfriendly’, but the European Union, which mainly pays in euros, has rejected the idea.
Germany currently depends on Russia for about half its gas and a third of its oil supplies. Though the country has pledged to reduce its dependence on Russian energy over time, it cautioned it could face a recession if supplies stopped suddenly.
The early warning is the first of three phases in the country’s emergency gas plan designed to prepare the country for a potential supply shock.
At a news conference, the German economy minister said gas supplies were safeguarded for the time being. He however added that, “Nevertheless, we must increase precautionary measures to be prepared for an escalation on the part of Russia.
“With the declaration of the early warning level, a crisis team has convened.”
The West has been imposing sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
In response to sanctions imposed by the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded that payment for gas exported to Europe or the US should be in roubles.
Europe, which imports about 40% of its gas from Russia and pays mostly in euros.