Energy markets risk “cascading effects” as buyers of Russian gas like Uniper SE seek to cover shortfalls by buying expensive supplies on the spot market, Habeck said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“This is the promise I can give: we will not allow one company to go bankrupt and let, as a consequence, the global energy market get into turbulences,” Habeck said by phone late Wednesday.
The gas crisis risks escalating after the Nord Stream 1 pipeline goes down for maintenance on Monday, with German authorities concerned Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the opportunity to halt the biggest pipeline to Europe for the long term. The move would make it all but impossible for Germany to secure enough gas for the winter without implementing severe measures such as rationing.
To broaden its powers to intervene in the energy system, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is rushing through legislation this week that would allow it to rescue struggling firms, including taking stakes.
“With the new legislation, we will have different possibilities to act, but we will definitely act,” Habeck said.
Aside from Uniper, gas supplier VNG AG is also a focus of concern because of its gas contracts with Russia and its role in supplying local utilities.
“We are in close contact with all these companies,” said Habeck, a former co-leader of the Green party who also serves as vice chancellor. “The high energy prices are of course a heavy burden for many companies.”