German gas giant Uniper has been forced to take out an emergency €2bn (£1.7bn) loan as it battles for survival amid an escalating energy crisis.
The company, which is Europe’s largest buyer of Russian gas, agreed the credit facility with state-owned lender KfW Group.
It said the step had been taken “in reaction to continuing supply disruptions of Russian gas and the associated developments on the energy markets and exchanges”.
It comes amid negotiations with the German Government after Uniper said it needed to be bailed out by the state.
Germany is racing to refill gas storage sites amid fears of blackouts and rationing this winter if Putin turns off the taps. Fears are mounting that supplies won’t be restored after current maintenance work on the Nord Stream pipeline is completed.
But surging prices meant Uniper was last week forced to start withdrawing fuel it had been saving for winter to supply its customers.
The Bild newspaper reported that Germany now expects emergencies in gas supply in some regions this winter.