STA, 11 July 2022 - Slovenian gas consumers have been urged to use natural gas with care as a precautionary measure as the Energy Agency declared an early warning level on Monday to notify the public of potential disruption to supply in the future in case of reduced supplies of natural gas from Russia.
In a press release posted on its website, the agency says that gas supplies to Slovenia and supply to consumers are currently undisrupted.
The agency monitors gas supplies along the routes affecting the supply in Slovenia, including supplies via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
The agency warns of potential future disruption in the event of lower gas flows from Russia. It does not know at this point whether or to what extent disruption would occur.
Commenting on the measure, Infrastructure Minister Bojan Kumer said it was but "an early-warning or awareness-raising phase", while gas supplies to Slovenia continued undisrupted.
"The security of natural gas supply is at the same level as last year, the supply is based on pre-agreed contracts and we don't expect any problems in the short term," he said.
Kumer noted that this early-warning phase had already been launched by roughly ten EU countries, including all of Slovenia's neighbours. "The idea is to get prepared for the heating season, that those who can - from industrial to commercial consumers - get ready on time for certain alternatives."
Geoplin, the gas wholesaler, said the agency's measure was "prompted by situation in European gas markets in connection to supplies from Russia".
The company has been facing reduced gas supplies from Russia with further reductions since maintenance started on Nord Stream 1, but has been offsetting losses of that gas with alternative purchases and use of storage facilities.
Geoplin would not say how much supplies from Russia have been reduced, but the newspaper Finance reported in mid-June that Slovenia received up to a quarter less gas. Due to low consumption in summer the supply has not been affected but the storage facilities that Slovenia leases in Austria and Croatia are not being replenished as quickly.
The company said supplies in Slovenia continued undisrupted. "Geoplin provides natural gas to customers in accordance with the volumes specified in the contracts, and will continue to do so in the future."
The Energy Agency today notified industrial gas consumers that if a higher level of crisis is declared, supply may be interrupted or they may be required to switch to alternative energy sources.
They were thus urged to monitor regularly the developments on the natural gas market and to consider alternative options that would contribute to reducing their consumption in case of disruptions.
The agency will notify the public and stakeholders on potential changes in the security of natural gas supply without delay.
Such notification is foreseen in the national act on the natural gas contingency plan, which entered into force in the summer of 2020. Following the model of such protocols in other EU member states, it foresees a three-step approach.
The first phase involves checking volumes, informing customers of possible supply disruptions and calling on industrial consumers to use gas more rationally.
Phase 2 would see suppliers call on their contract customers who are in a position to do so to voluntarily break off their gas supplies. Large customers would be urged to reduce their consumption to the minimum. Industrial consumers and electricity producers who have such an option would be recommended to switch to an alternative energy source.
In phase 3, which applies to emergency situations, suppliers break off the contracts that can be broken off and order industrial consumers and electricity producers to switch to an alternative energy source. At the same time, gas supplies are rationed.
Last year's total consumption of natural gas in Slovenia increased by 6% to 10,163 GWh in what was the highest total consumption since 2010, Energy Agency data shows.
The total consumption increased with all gas consumers. Households and non-households together used up more than 10% more gas. While households' consumption - which accounts for about a third of total consumption - was up by almost 12%, non-household users consumed over 9% more gas than in 2020.