**Germany Braces for Less Gas as Russia Demands Ruble Payments**
**Country triggers early-warning stage of contingency plan to insulate against any reduction in gas deliveries**
**By Bojan Pancevski, The Wall Street Journal, Mar. 30, 2022**
**Germany’s economy minister, Robert Habeck, said Berlin has triggered the early-warning stage of a contingency plan that aims to insulate the country against any possible reduction in Russian gas deliveries, adding that Russian supplies continue uninterrupted.**
**The triggering of the early warning stage is a formality in Germany’s elaborate contingency plan for possible energy shortages. It means that a special government task force will be formed to monitor developments in global gas markets and intervene if needed....**
**Asked whether Russia’s demand for ruble payments was expected to take effect as of tomorrow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “No, absolutely. The payment and supplies are a lengthy process... This does not mean that all that will be supplied tomorrow should be paid for” in rubles....** [end quote]
The German contingency plan is a sequence of rationing, starting with non-critical industries. Germany is already whittling back its orders from Russia.
The idea of forcing customers to pay in rubles is a clever way to support the ruble, but it’s also cutting off the Russians’ nose to spite their face if the customers refuse to pay in rubles. Cooler heads apparently prevailed because this is now a “lengthy process” threat and not an immediate requirement.
Necessity being the mother of invention, it’s likely that the Europeans will reconfigure their energy supplies for the long term. Germany may finally follow France’s safe use of nuclear power.
The Macro trend of moving away from fossil fuel energy will be boosted by the war in Ukraine. This will ultimately hurt Russia, even if they succeed in stealing the Ukrainian oil and gas fields.
**What if Putin Didn’t Miscalculate?**
**By Bret Stephens, The New York Times, March 29, 2022**
**Suppose for a moment that Putin never intended to conquer all of Ukraine: that, from the beginning, his real targets were the energy riches of Ukraine’s east, which contain Europe’s second-largest known reserves of natural gas (after Norway’s).**
**Combine that with Russia’s previous territorial seizures in Crimea (which has huge offshore energy fields) and the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk (which contain part of an enormous shale-gas field), as well as Putin’s bid to control most or all of Ukraine’s coastline, and the shape of Putin’s ambitions become clear. He’s less interested in reuniting the Russian-speaking world than he is in securing Russia’s energy dominance....** [end quote]
The OPEC oil crises of the 1970s encouraged the development of more fuel-efficient cars. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 may have long-term Macro impact if it accelerates the move toward non-carbon energy sources.