What does Denmark’s ‘energy warning’ mean for businesses and individuals?

Denmark’s energy sector should be prepared for a potential supply shortage after the Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen) issued a first level warning.

What does Denmark’s 'energy warning' mean for businesses and individuals?
Danish authorities say they have plans in place should a gas shortage occur. File photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The agency said in a statement on Monday that it had issued the alert amid uncertainty on energy imports from Russia because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The decision by the energy agency was made after Russia reduced its gas deliveries to Germany by 60 percent.

“We are in a serious situation and it has been made worse with reduced deliveries from Russia to the European gas market,” Energy Agency deputy director Martin Hansen said in the statement.

“We are following developments on the gas market closely. We are still receiving gas in Denmark and we have plans to ensure customers (receive it). We are fortunately in a robust position in Denmark because we have a lot of green energy,” he said.

READ ALSO: Denmark declares ‘early warning’ over gas supply

The Danish agency on Monday moved Denmark to the bottom rung of the European Union system allowing member states to flag up impending energy supply difficulties using three ascending levels — beginning with “early warning”, followed by “alert”, then “emergency”. 

With “early warning” declared in Denmark, gas market actors can begin to prepare for a potential shortage.

Gas stores in Denmark are currently 75 percent full and should be at least 80 percent full from November in line with EU targets.

In the event that Denmark does find itself in a gas crisis, the country has an emergency plan ready to implement, Minister for Energy and Critical Supplies, Dan Jørgensen, said.

“We are prepared if an emergency situation occurs. We are not at that stage yet, but we are prepared,” Jørgensen said.

The Danish plan could involve asking companies with the highest gas consumptions to cut off their gas supplies fully or partially for a period of time.

The Energy Agency has been in dialogue with companies on how they could be asked to contribute should a crisis occur.

“Most companies which are heavy gas consumers have plans in place to replace gas, but we will renew contact with companies to hear what authorities can do to help them,” Hansen said.

The Energy Agency and the minister both encouraged private individuals and businesses in Denmark to save on gas where possible.

“We are in the process of filling our gas stocks and getting Denmark ready for all situations,” Jørgensen said.

The minister also said that international geopolitical developments could impact the situation in Denmark.

“One (possibility) is that Russia completely switches of gas supplies to Europe. The other is, we choose to say that we no longer want to receive it,” he said.

Denmark should be equipped to cope with a potential crisis in either case, he said. Jørgensen added that the Tyra oil field, in the Danish sector of the North Sea will be reopened in mid-2023.

“From there, we will be self-sufficient,” he said.

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Sweden detects fourth leak at Nord Stream pipelines in Baltic Sea

A fourth leak has been detected in undersea pipelines running from Russia to Europe, the Swedish Coast Guard said Thursday, after pipeline explosions earlier this week in the Danish and Swedish economic zones, in suspected sabotage.

Sweden detects fourth leak at Nord Stream pipelines in Baltic Sea

“There are two leaks on the Swedish side and two leaks on the Danish side,” a Swedish Coast Guard official said, after three leaks were confirmed earlier this week on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

The official added that the two leaks on the Swedish side are “close to each other”.

The Swedish coast guard could not immediately say why the latest leak only appeared days after the initial breaches. 

Media reported that the latest leak was detected at the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but the coast guard did not confirm this. 

Sweden had previously reported a leak on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline northeast of Bornholm, while Denmark has confirmed a leak on Nord Stream 2 to the southeast of the island, and another to the northeast above Nord Stream 1.

The vast leaks cause significant bubbling at the surface of the sea several hundred metres wide, making it impossible to immediately inspect the structures. 

Suspicions of sabotage emerged after the leaks were detected. Moscow denied it was behind the explosions, as did the United States, saying Moscow’s suggestion it would damage the pipeline was “ridiculous”. 

The UN Security Council will meet Friday to discuss the incident.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which link Russia to Germany, have been at the centre of geopolitical tensions in recent months as Russia cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

While the pipelines — operated by a consortium majority-owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom — are not currently in operation, they both still contained gas.

On Thursday, NATO declared that the damage was “the result of deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage”.

“These leaks are causing risks to shipping and substantial environmental damage,” the Western military alliance said in a statement.

Danish officials said on Wednesday – prior to the discovery of the fourth leak – that more than half of the gas in the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea had leaked into the atmosphere after they were damaged.

“A clear majority of the gas has already come out of the pipes,” the head of the Danish Energy Agency, Kristoffer Böttzauw, told a press conference.

“We expect the rest to escape by Sunday,” he added.

Defence Minister Morten Bødskov said Wednesday morning that, due to pressure of the gas leaking out, it would take “one or two weeks” before inspections of the damaged structures could begin.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said at a symposium in Paris that to him it was “very obvious” who was behind the leaks.

He said natural gas shortages in the wake of the war in Ukraine could make for a tough winter in Europe.

“In the absence of a major negative surprise, I think Europe, in terms of natural gas, can survive this winter with a lot of bruises in our bodies in terms of prices, economy and social issues, but we can go through that,” Birol said.