BONN (dpa-AFX) - The Federal Network Agency rehearsed the emergency case of a gas shortage on Thursday. A supply situation was simulated for the entire day in which there is no longer enough natural gas in Germany to cover all desired requirements. In such a case, the agency, as the so-called federal load distributor, must decide, for example, which companies' gas consumption will be restricted. The Federal Network Agency emphasized that the exercise took into account that the vital needs of household customers were subject to special protection. Among other things, the crisis team's infrastructure and communication channels were tested.

The exercise also involved the Federal Ministry of Economics, several German states and the company Trading Hub Europe. The joint venture of the long-distance pipeline operators is responsible, among other things, for ensuring that there is always enough natural gas in the pipelines in the German gas market area. In addition, 15 network operators, 17 industrial customers as well as storage operators and storage users took part. In total, around 200 people were involved in the exercise, 70 of them at the network agency, where a crisis center was set up.

"Germany is much better prepared for this winter than last year," said Klaus Müller, president of the agency. "The storage facilities are well filled, the alternative sources through which we can obtain gas and the savings rates are stable." He added that one could certainly be optimistic, but it was still too early to sound the all-clear. Residual risks remain. The exercise helps to be well prepared for unlikely scenarios.

The authorities cited a possible very cold weather situation and the danger of a lack of Russian gas supplies to the southeastern European countries as residual risks. These countries are currently still receiving gas from Ukraine and would have to be supplied via Germany in the event of a shortage. The partial or complete failure of natural gas pipelines is also conceivable./tob/DP/zb