Russia has restarted gas supplies to Europe through its biggest pipeline, Nord Stream 1, following a 10-day maintenance break.
There had been fears Moscow may not have resumed the flow in response to EU sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the European Commission urged countries to cut gas use by 15% over the next seven months in case Russia switched off Europe’s supply.
Russia supplied Europe with 40% of its natural gas last year.
Germany was the continent’s largest importer in 2020, but has reduced its dependence on Russian gas from 55% to 35%. Eventually, it wants to stop using gas from Russia altogether.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has sought to play down fears, telling reporters that state gas firm Gazprom would fulfil all its contractual obligations.
The pipeline resumed operations early on Thursday morning, but a spokesman said it was only delivering 40% of its capacity.
This is the same level it was operating at in mid-June, when Gazprom cut gas flows blaming a delay in the return of equipment being serviced by Germany’s Siemens Energy.
The gas is flowing again – but at a reduced capacity.
Few in Berlin, or any other European capital, trust Vladimir Putin to supply the energy upon which Germany, in particular, depends so heavily.
Even as Europe swelters through a heatwave, ministers here are painfully aware that the country doesn’t currently have enough stored gas to see it through the winter.
They’re urging people to save energy, scrambling to secure supplies of liquified natural gas from other countries and even firing up old coal power stations – despite a pledge to phase out the fossil fuel.
Industry leaders have warned that a shortfall in gas, which may yet lead to rationing, could trigger a recession.
That would delight Vladimir Putin, who wants to provoke political and economic chaos in the West.