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France aims to fill gas reserves by autumn, says prime minister

(Reuters) - France aims to fill its gas storage facilities by early autumn from 59% full now, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said, as reduced Russian deliveries shake up the European market.

The state will also join French energy group TotalEnergies in installing an offshore terminal to receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the northern port of Le Havre in September 2023.

"This will increase our supply capacity of gas that does not depend on Russia," Borne told a news conference.

Bechtel Curtis Island Lng

Energy Minister Agnes Panier Runacher told the joint news conference that France aimed to cut energy consumption by 10% because of the current crisis.

A standoff between Europe and Moscow since the Russian invasion of Ukraine has exposed the bloc's reliance on Russian gas and sparked a frantic search for alternative energy sources.

European gas flows have come under close scrutiny as fuel prices rise sharply in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

French media in March reported the government was in touch with TotalEnergies about boosting capacity to receive LNG after the United States, a major exporter, said it was prepared to increase deliveries to Europe.

(Reporting by Elisabeth Pineau, Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Edmund Blair)

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