ROUNDUP: Gas storage fill level reaches 95 percent | news
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Germany’s gas storage facilities are more than 95 percent full. Within 24 hours, the level rose by 0.17 points to 95.14 percent, according to information from Europe’s gas infrastructure operators late Thursday evening. A federal regulation stipulates that the facilities must be at least 95 percent full by November 1st. This value has now been reached overall. However, the regulation stipulates that each storage facility must comply with this requirement. This is not the case: some plants are significantly higher, others significantly lower.
In terms of quantity, the stored gas is sufficient for around two cold winter months, said the President of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller. “The well-stocked reservoirs will help us in winter.” At the same time, the head of the authorities emphasized that the storage tanks were far from sufficient for the entire heating period and that additional efforts were necessary. “In order to avoid a gas emergency in winter, the projects that have been initiated to increase gas imports must also be implemented.” He was referring to the new liquid gas terminals on Germany’s coast, which are scheduled to start work at the turn of the year.
In addition, the gas supply must also remain stable in neighboring countries, and domestic gas consumption must fall by at least 20 percent, said Müller. “It depends on each individual.”
Referring to the 29 percent drop in gas consumption by households and small businesses over the past week, he added that warm weather has been a big factor in this and such savings need to be made even in a cold winter.
Müller pointed out that the storage level on February 1st had to be at least 40 percent. It could still get very cold in February and March, and the storage tanks would have to be replenished for the winter of 2023/2024. “That can be more difficult in view of the lack of Russian gas volumes, which helped us a lot with filling the storage tanks this summer.”
Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck had already commented on the 95 percent fill level this week. In view of the lack of gas from Russia, the storage facilities are surprisingly well filled. “That’s an achievement,” said Habeck at the mechanical engineering summit. “But of course this performance was bought at a high price, because the condition for this was that the industry not only throttled its production, but also partially stopped it.” It shouldn’t be like that. Habeck spoke of a good chance of getting through the winter. With high gas consumption, Germany is heading for “more difficult times and discussions”.
Sebastian Bleschke from the gas storage association Ines was only cautiously optimistic. “Despite well-stocked gas storage facilities, winter will still be a major challenge.” Imports via the new liquid gas terminals and imports via existing terminals in other EU countries are immensely important, said the managing director of the association.
What’s next for the storage? “If it is as warm as before, further storage up to 100 percent is possible,” said Bleschke. However, it will be technically more demanding to reach the last percentage points.
In the heating period, the storage level will probably drop sharply despite all efforts. When asked how long the stored gas will probably last this winter, Bleschke said: “Due to the loss of Russian gas imports, it is conceivable that the storage facilities will be very low by the end of February or the beginning of March.”
The storage facilities balance out fluctuations in gas consumption and form a buffer for the gas market. On cold winter days in recent years, up to 60 percent of gas consumption in Germany has been covered by domestic storage facilities.
In the months after the start of the Ukraine war, Russia gradually reduced its supplies to Germany. In German politics there was talk of an “energy war”. The Federal Republic currently obtains gas from Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and, on a smaller scale, from Switzerland, which sends the fuel from Italy onwards. The gas used in Germany is promoted in the Netherlands, Norway, the USA and in the Arab world, among others./wdw/DP/stk