International Energy Agency head warns Europe of possible crisis next winter

The head of the International Energy Agency is warning of a possible energy crisis next winter due to shortages of liquefied petroleum gas, and also criticized the German nuclear phaseout.

"I wish there was the possibility of extending the (nuclear plants’) running times much more if necessary," Fatih Birol, a Turkish economist and energy expert, told German business magazine Handelsblatt in an interview posted Tuesday.

If it is technically possible and the population accepts it, nuclear power should be an option, Birol said. Although the government decides, the IEA head pointed to similar discussions he has had with Belgium.

Now, he said, the Belgian government has extended nuclear plant lifetimes by 10 years.

Turning to new LNG terminals in Germany, Birol said, "Building the terminal in 200 days was really record-breaking. It's not so record-breaking anymore if you count the 20 years before that."

He also warned of shortages of LNG gas, explaining: "Having the terminals, by the way, does not mean you have the gas.”

He added: "When the Chinese economy picks up, it will not be easy to buy the planned volumes on the world market."

In the interview, Birol also issued a warning to Europeans about rushing to declare the energy crisis over.

"The next winter worries me," Birol said. He added: "No Russian gas, China's comeback as an importer, little supply growth: these three factors make next winter a challenge."

Many governments, he said, are pleased with the relatively mild course of the crisis so far. "But I fear they are a little too happy," Birol stressed.

According to Birol, Europe must continue to reduce gas consumption while finding new gas suppliers and getting into the production of critical minerals itself, in addition to expanding renewable energy.

Source: Anadolu Agency