Europe must brace itself for the worst-case scenario: a complete disruption to Russian gas supplies this winter, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said.
We don’t know what’s going to happen… Nobody knows… (Russian President Vladimir) Putin probably doesn’t even know what steps he’s going to take, but the most likely thing is a total cutoff of Russian language gas to Europe,” he said during a speech to the upper house of parliament.
Spain will extend a gas price cap to power plants linked to heavy industry amid fears Russia could cut off all gas supplies to Europe by land or sea, Sanchez said.
His government will temporarily change the electricity market regulations regarding the use of heat from industrial processes such as the manufacture of tiles, concrete or fertilizers.
“We will make an exception for large (gas) users so that they are temporarily covered by the Iberian mechanism,” he said during a speech in the Senate, referring to an agreement with the European Union that allows Spain and Portugal to use the Costs to subsidize natural gas in power generation.
Mr Sanchez said capping gas prices for electricity generation had already saved Spanish households €2 billion since mid-June.
He expressed pride that EU energy ministers on Friday will debate introducing the same bloc-wide measure as part of a range of options to curb rising energy prices.
In Spain, these prices have caught companies in energy-intensive businesses who must now choose between selling their products below cost or cutting back and reducing production.
The lobby of affected companies, Acogen, said the measure could facilitate the opening of 400 idle factories and allow them to compete “on an equal footing”.
The measure was announced in a special appearance by Mr Sanchez in the Senate to outline government-approved energy-saving measures and hold a first debate with new centre-right opposition leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo.
The leader of the People’s Party, who replaced Pablo Casado in April after an internal scandal, is gaining popularity according to polls, and the PP has come out as “superficial” in opposing the government’s energy-saving measures.
Mr. Feijoo called on Mr. Sanchez to delay the phase-out of Spain’s nuclear power plants and to expand measures to support ailing companies, such as reduced VAT.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/spanish-pm-says-eu-must-prepare-for-russia-to-cut-off-gas-41967200.html Spanish Prime Minister says EU must prepare for Russia shutting off gas