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France starts exporting gas to Germany amid energy crisis

PARIS — France has for the first time started sending natural gas to Germany, the French gas network operator GRTgaz announced on Thursday, as Berlin strives to diversify its energy supply following the interruption of Russian gas deliveries. .

GRTgaz said the pipeline linking the two countries to the French border village of Obergailbach has started delivering an initial daily capacity of 31 gigawatt hours.

The quantity is expected to increase over time to a daily maximum of 100 gigawatt hours, which represents less than 2% of Germany’s total gas consumption, according to figures from the French Ministry of Energy Transition.

The head of the German network regulation agency, Klaus Mueller, thanked GRTGaz in French in a tweet on Thursday, adding that “French gas deliveries via the Saarland contribute to Germany’s security of supply”.

Although gas storage facilities in Germany are now almost 95% full, officials say citizens will still need to save gas this winter.

The move comes as Germany and other European countries seek to diversify their gas imports after Russia choked off supplies of cheap natural gas that the continent has depended on for years to run factories, produce oil and gas. electricity and heat homes.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced last month that France and Germany had reached an energy solidarity agreement. France would help Germany with gas supplies, while Germany would generate more electricity to supply France during peak consumption periods.

The French government has expressed concern about possible power shortages over the winter, with 25 of France’s 56 nuclear reactors now shut down for routine maintenance and, in some cases, to repair corrosion problems. The government said EDF, which operates France’s nuclear power plants, has pledged to restart them all by this winter.

France imports almost all of its natural gas from abroad, mainly from Norway and other countries including the Netherlands, Algeria and Nigeria via gas pipelines and via oil terminals. The French Energy Regulatory Commission announced earlier this month that its gas reserves are 100% full in anticipation of winter.

France depends on nuclear power for about 67% of its electricity — more than any other country — and gas for about 7%.


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