(Aix-en-Provence) The government on Sunday called for “moving into battle quickly” to deal with the possibility of a complete cut in Russian gas supplies, “the most likely option”, according to Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Updated yesterday at 4:58pm.

Media Agency France

“Let’s prepare for the complete shutdown of Russian gas, that’s the most likely option today. This requires us to speed up our energy independence,” pleaded the No. 2 of the French government during the Aix-en-Provence economic meeting, which wants to use the summer to “bring itself into battle order” before winter.

“You have to put yourself in the worst-case scenario, because it exists. Russia can completely interrupt its gas supplies at any time,” added the Minister for Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher in an interview with the Figaro dated Monday.

In terms of supply, “we may have tensions over gas this winter,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne warned at a meeting with the press on Saturday.

“Faced with this risk, we are taking action by diversifying our gas supply sources, increasing our capacity with the Le Havre floating LNG terminal project and accelerating storage,” said Mr.me Suitcase Runacher.


French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne at the Aix-en-Provence Economic Meetings

In particular, the government has required national gas storage capacity to be “nearly 100% full” by early autumn.

“For electricity, EDF forecasts that we should normally have higher production when” the 12 reactors (out of 56) currently shut down due to corrosion restart, Mme stubborn.

Should the power go out, however, the government is preparing a series of measures for the winter that are intended to prioritize households and certain industries.

“Of course we preserve households and […] We’re not cutting off factories or public transport,” explained Mme Terminal Saturday.

“We now have to bring ourselves into battle order about the organization, relief, sobriety, reduction in consumption … now we have to make the decisions,” repeated the economy minister.

Spread the effort

Thus, certain industrial sites could be asked to “slow down their energy consumption or even stop their energy consumption for a certain period of time”, explained Mr. Le Maire, while specifying that for certain sites it would be “completely impossible” not to do so “The industrial break tool. »

Given the risk of Vladimir Poutine cutting off the gas supply to Europe, “a credible option,” said Bruno Le Maire in an interview with LCI on the sidelines of the Aix meetings, “we must face the consequences. »

“We must share the effort between administrations, individuals and companies,” explained Bruno Le Maire in a France that is “more favourable” than its neighbors.

The government has set up three working groups to improve energy saving in administration, in companies and in public facilities. The aim is to create a roadmap to reduce energy consumption by 10% within two years compared to 2019.

“Sobriety is a complete change in our behavior to keep us warm, to get around, to produce. And that is the key to not falling into the hands of a geopolitical enemy,” said the Minister for Energy Transition.

“It’s going to be several months, but (this) must also lead us to make a certain number of investment decisions and show imagination,” Bruno Le Maire told LCI.

The danger of energy shortages does not stop at the French borders either, as the President of the European Commission on Wednesday called on the 27 member states of the European Union to “prepare for further interruptions in gas supplies or even a complete shutdown of part of Russia. »

Germany, otherwise more dependent on Russian gas than France, is already on alert. The Bundestag has decided on an austerity plan: more heating above 20 degrees in winter and more hot water in individual offices, for example.

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