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No need for highest German alert over gas supply, sector lobby says

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FILE PHOTO: Pipes at the landfall facilities of the 'Nord Stream 1' gas pipline in Lubmin

ESSEN (Reuters) - Germany does not need to move to its highest emergency plan to prepare for possible disruption to piped supply of Russian gas, its gas industry trade association said on Tuesday.

"That point does not yet make sense," Timm Kehler, managing director of the Zukunft Gas lobby, said at a trade fair in the western German town of Essen.

"We can see that, for the moment, all customers are still being fully supplied," he said.

Kehler's remarks echoed those by the country's energy regulator, who told broadcaster BR he was in no hurry to trigger the alarm phase, which would involve intervention in the market.

Germany has been in phase one of its three-level system, requiring increased attention, since March 30.

The economy minister of landlocked Bavaria state, Hubert Aiwanger, had earlier asked the federal government to move to phase three.

Kehler nevertheless said "the situation is critical," referring to reduced gas flows from Russia which are threatening an energy crisis in winter if stores are not refilled in time.

Kehler asked the government, which plans to employ four floating units to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) off Germany's North Sea coast, to select more locations for such units and to clarify booking conditions.

So far only Wilhelmshaven has been named.

Zukunft Gas represents 130 gas companies including local utilities, grid operators and traders.

(Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff, writing by Vera Eckert in Frankfurt; editing by Jason Neely)

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