European Union energy ministers approved a plan Tuesday to reduce natural gas use by 15% in order to cut dependence on Russian supplies.
The agreement involves voluntary reductions between August and March, and will allow member states to stockpile supplies ahead of the coming winter months.
In case of emergency, the EU could make the cuts mandatory, although with certain exemptions that were agreed to as part of a compromise in order to reach the agreement.
The deal also comes amid the prospect that Russia will cut off gas supplies to the EU in response to EU sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s Gazprom has said it would further reduce already slowed supplies to Europe beginning Wednesday.
Gazprom has blamed the reductions on repairs to the Nord Stream pipeline, but EU officials have said the moves are politically motivated.
Some information for this report came from Agence France-Presse and Reuters.