Norway delivers all the gas it can to Germany - Norwegian PM
Norway is delivering all the gas it can to Germany, and any further boost would depend on making new discoveries, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said on Monday.
Norway, Western Europe's largest petroleum producer, this year boosted its gas exports to take advantage of record prices and help Europe replace some of the volumes lost when Russia curbed supplies.
"Norway delivers as much gas as possible to Germany," Stoere told a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
"In total, we have been increasing our gas exports compared to what we had at the outset by close to 10%, which is really maximum, so we will do whatever we can with the companies to maintain a high level," Stoere said.
Any further increase would depend on finding and developing additional resources, he added.
The German chancellor welcomed Norway's effort.
Russia is Germany's main gas supplier. The country's Gazprom has cut gas flows to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20% of capacity.
The value of Norway's natural gas exports hit a record 128.4 billion Norwegian crowns ($13.22 billion) in July as prices and demand in Europe surged amid the continent's effort to fill storage ahead of the winter season.
Meanwhile, Germany's economy minister said his country had to introduce a new levy to help utility companies cover the cost of replacing Russian gas or its energy market would collapse.
"The alternative would have been the collapse of Germany's energy market and with that the collapse of large parts of the European market," Robert Habeck told reporters in Berlin.
German households will have to pay almost 500 euros ($509) more a year for gas after a levy was set to help utilities cover the cost of replacing Russian supplies, piling pressure on Berlin to come up with further relief measures for the public.
Trading Hub Europe, the German gas market operator, said on Monday it had set the charge at 2.419 euro cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).
The levy will be imposed from Oct. 1 and remain in place until April 2024 to help Uniper - the country's largest importer of Russian gas - and other importers cope with soaring prices.
For an average family of four, the charge will amount to an additional annual cost of around 480 euros.
Germany's Russia-dependent energy model had failed and would not be returning, he told reporters.
Germany is also awaiting a response from Brussels on a VAT exemption for the levy.