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ENERGY

France to boost gas exports to Germany from mid-October

New capacity for gas exports from France to Germany will be available from mid-October, France's gas network operator said Wednesday, as Europe's energy system is rejigged following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

France to boost gas exports to Germany from mid-October
Ingoing and outgoing gaz pipelines at a GRTgaz compressor station, in Morelmaison,eastern France on March 29, 2013 (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP)

“Historic gas flows from the east have been reversed under the effect of the war in Ukraine,” operator GRTgaz said in a statement, adding that the firm “is working on adapting its network to develop new capacity for export from France to Germany, which will be available from mid-October.”

“Historic gas flows from the east have been reversed under the effect of the war in Ukraine,” operator GRTgaz said in a statement.

It added that the firm “is working on adapting its network to develop new capacity for export from France to Germany, which will be available from mid-October.”

GRTgaz said France’s terminals for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) were operating at 90 percent capacity, helping to fill the country’s reserves to 94 percent — around ten points higher than the European average.

In a “normal” winter, there would be “no shortage of gas”, the company said — while warning that “there is little room for manoeuvre, especially on days of especially high consumption”.

And in the case of a “very cold” winter, GRTgaz expects a shortfall in gas supply of around five percent, a level it said “can be absorbed by reaching the energy saving objectives set by the authorities”.

It encouraged households to follow advice to turn down their heating by one degree Celsius.

“As a last resort, load-shedding targeting major consumers could protect residential customers in extreme situations that are very unlikely to occur,” the operator said.

The announcement came alongside Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s conference discussing the government’s plans for helping the country cope with surging energy costs this winter, caused by disruptions from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

READ MORE: LATEST: France announces 15 percent gas and electricity price rises for 2023

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POLITICS

French minister: US green plan should be ‘wake-up call’ for EU industry

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Friday said Washington's $430 billion plan to spur climate-friendly technologies in the United States must be seen as a wake-up call for Europe.

French minister: US green plan should be 'wake-up call' for EU industry

The EU “must be able to sweep in front of our own door” before worrying about the effects of the US climate plan on European industry, Le Maire told AFP in Washington, where he was part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s US state visit.

Even though the EU has already “changed its approach” on promoting green industry, the US climate plan must be seen as a “wake-up call” in the European Union, he added.

Le Maire’s comments came as EU countries have poured criticism on Washington’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), seeing it as anti-competitive and a threat to European jobs, especially in the energy and auto sectors.

Subsidies for green energy

The act, designed to accelerate the US transition to a low-carbon economy, contains around $370 billion in subsidies for green energy as well as tax cuts for US-made electric cars and batteries.

Macron on Wednesday slammed the plan’s “Made in USA” provisions as “super aggressive” for European businesses.

But at a joint press conference with Macron, Biden said that he and the French leader had agreed to “discuss practical steps to coordinate and align our approaches”, though he said he would not apologize for the US plan.

Biden added the IRA was never intended to disadvantage any US allies.

Threats of retaliatory measures

Last month, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton threatened to appeal to the World Trade Organization and consider “retaliatory measures” if the United States did not reverse its subsidies.

Le Maire also criticized the EU’s own climate spending plans, arguing that they were too cumbersome and loaded with red tape.

“If the ambition is the same” as the Europeans, the United States relies on methods that “are simpler and faster”, he said.

“They put immediate and massive tax credits where we provide state aid (to specific projects) which sometimes take two years to be adopted and are too complex to implement,” said Le Maire.

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