France begins shipping natural gas to Germany

PARIS ( Associated Press) – France will begin shipping natural gas to Germany, French grid operator GRTGaz said on Thursday, as Berlin tries to diversify its energy supply following a supply disruption from Russia.

GRTgaz said the gas pipeline connecting the two countries in the French border village of Obergelbach has started sending 31 gigawatt hours per day.

According to figures from the French Ministry for the Energy Transition, there are plans to increase the amount to 100 gigawatt hours, which represents less than 2% of daily gas consumption in Germany.

The head of the German regulatory agency, Klaus Müller, thanked GRTGaz in a tweet in French, noting that “French gas shipments through the Saarland help protect German supplies.”

Although German gas tanks are 95% full, officials say people will need to be careful about gas consumption next winter.

Germany and other European countries are trying to diversify their gas imports as Russia cut supplies, which the continent has relied on for years for its factories, power plants and domestic heating.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced last month that France and Germany had agreed to an exchange of solidarity. France would help Germany with gas, while Germany would generate more electricity to supply France during peak consumption hours.

The French government has noted the possibility of power outages during the winter, as 25 of the 56 nuclear reactors are closed for routine maintenance work, and in some cases, repairs to corrosion problems. The government said the operating company EDF had promised to have them all up and running by winter.

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