France opposes the 15% reduction in consumption requested by Brussels

[Article mis à jour le 25/07/2022 à 16:20]

And now France. Faced with the energy crisis that shook the Twenty-Seven due to Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, the government of Elisabeth Borne is instead opposed to the sobriety plan that Brussels asked to spend the winter without gas in Russia. Last week, the European Commission called on all EU Member States to reduce their national gas consumption by at least 15% between August and March 2023, compared to the average of the previous five years.

After Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy, France also showed opposition to this idea on Monday, explaining that it is not in favor of a target for reducing the use of the famous uniform fuel throughout the continent, according to the office of the Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher.

Consider export capabilities

Because according to the latter, the reduction must take into account the details of each. This Tuesday, July 26, it will propose to the extraordinary council of European ministers in charge of energy that the States instead agree on goals according to the capacities and the particular situation of each of the member countries. And especially their ability to export the popular fuel to their neighbors, to give the worst hit.

And for good reason, what’s the point of storing precious hydrocarbons if there aren’t enough gas pipelines to send them to where demand is high? “ We will do our best to help our European partners […] however, there is no point in making additional efforts that, in any case, have no effect on the ability to help our neighbors. “, we specified in the minister’s cabinet, making sure that we want to play in full unity with Germany, which is very affected by the crisis due to its heavy dependence on Russia in matters of energy.

And to add that “the physical capacities to transfer gas from the West to the East are in any case limited”, specifying that the target of a 15% reduction in gas consumption discussed by the European Union may have significant impact on the French economy. .

These arguments join those put forward a few days earlier in Madrid and Lisbon, which recalled last week their very low exposure to Russian gas, and the risk for their industries of a monotonous goal of lowering consumption. The Spanish Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, also criticized an announcement that did not hold ” ignore the different realities of energy infrastructure “.

“It is possible that we will look during the negotiations if there is no possibility, beyond the simple reduction of consumption, to use the available infrastructures to help European integration. For example, the many LNG terminals [qui regazéifient le gaz naturel liquéfié acheminé par navire des quatre coins du monde, ndlr] in Spain, to redispatch gas to the rest of the EU”, explained Thursday in La Tribune Phuc-Vinh Nguyen, researcher of European energy policies at the Jacques Delors Institute.

LNG redistribution platform

However, according to the researcher, the argument may also have another purpose: to justify the construction of an LNG regasification terminal in Le Havre, provided in the framework of the bill on purchasing power. ” France consumes 40 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Currently, her The total capacity of regasification is about 35 billion cubic meters. So this new project is part of the logic of making the country a gas distribution platform in Europe, without reducing demand. “, he believed.

At the moment, the entourage of Agnès Pannier-Runacher in any case does not want to give a precise objective of reducing gas consumption for France. Apart from the Brussels plan, the ministry is however already working on a plan to reduce energy consumption (electricity and gas) by 10% by 2024, the plans that should be set at the beginning of the school year.

Hungary moves closer to Moscow, Spain and Portugal rebel: Europe is destroying itself because of gas

Disproportionate step for Greece

In addition to these four countries, Malta and Cyprus will be part of the clan of refractory states, according to the Greek Minister of Energy Kostas Skrek. It is known that approximately 70% of the gas imported into Greece is used for the production of electricity, it was explained later that such a reduction could cause interruptions in the supply of individuals and businesses.

“Even if we reduce our consumption by 15%, that does not mean that more gas will go to Germany,” insisted the Greek minister.

Describing the measure as “disproportionate”, Joao Galamba, Secretary of State of Portugal for the Environment and Energy, for his part, recalled last week that this measure will be difficult to implement in Portugal as the country is forced “to increase the energy of its gas. consumption due to the exceptional drought” this year. In addition, he argued, the Commission’s proposal “is not suitable for countries that are not connected” to the gas network such as Portugal.

Profits jumped at Portuguese oil and gas group Galp

The profit of Portuguese oil and gas group Galp jumped 90% in the second quarter to 265 million euros from the same period last year. In the first half, the profit of the group amounted to 420 million euros, compared to 166 million euros in the first six months of 2021. The gross operating surplus (EBITDA) of Galp was in the second quarter up to 1.24 billion euros against 571 million a year earlier, thanks to “favorable market conditions, especially in the exploration, refining and renewable energy sectors”, explained Galp in a press release.

As a reminder, the group bought for 140 million euros the 24.99% it does not yet own in Titan Solar, a renewable energy joint venture created with the Spanish engineering company ACS in 2020, and it is detailed. Titan Solar currently operates solar parks with an installed capacity of 1.15 GW and is developing other projects with a potential capacity of 1.6 GW, all located in Spain.

At the moment, the minister’s entourage does not want to give a precise objective of reducing gas consumption for France. Apart from the Brussels plan, Agnès Pannier-Runacher is already working on a plan to reduce energy consumption (electricity and gas) by 10% by 2024 which was announced last month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.