The shallowing of the Rhine River, record for 15 years, has become a new reason for the aggravation of the energy crisis in Europe. Low water levels threaten to disrupt European coal supplies
Due to shallowing, barges can no longer load as much thermal coal as before: for example, a vessel with a capacity of 2,500 tons can only take 1,600 tons on board. The current situation could affect the delivery of everything from coal to oil products as the region rushes to stock up on energy supplies ahead of winter.
“This could be a double whammy for German utilities as they are already facing a shortage of ships,” said Wilhelm Perret, founder of coal market consultancy Perret Associates.
In anticipation of the winter season, EU countries are stocking up on fuel and pumping gas into storage facilities. They are currently about 50% full. However, the region faces the threat of not receiving the required volumes of fuel by the beginning of the heating season. This is due to the policy of some countries refusing to pay for Russian gas in rubles, as well as to the reduction in fuel supplies from Russia. Only a warm winter can save us from the impending full-scale energy crisis in the region.