German storage facilities 90 percent full despite gas supply freeze

Wed 21st Sep, 2022

Image by PexelsDespite the cessation of gas supplies from Russia at the end of August, German gas storage facilities are now more than 90 percent full. This is according to data from European storage operators published on the Internet on Monday evening. According to the data, the storage facilities reached a fill level of 90.07 percent last Sunday - 0.32 percentage points more than the previous day. The level data are always reported with a delay.

A ministerial decree stipulates that German storage facilities should be at least 95 percent full on Nov. 1, six weeks from now. The amount of gas stored at this level is roughly equivalent to nationwide consumption in January and February 2022.

The storage facilities compensate for fluctuations in gas consumption and thus form a kind of buffer system for the gas market. They are usually well filled at the start of the heating season in the fall. The levels then decrease until spring. On cold winter days, up to 60 percent of gas consumption in Germany is covered by German storage facilities.

The German government is taking various measures to ensure that gas storage facilities are as full as possible at the start of the heating season. This should enable Germany to cope better in winter with the total loss of Russian supplies.

Germany currently receives natural gas via pipelines from Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium. At the turn of the year, the first two terminals for landing liquefied natural gas (LNG) are to be commissioned on the German North Sea coast.

According to preliminary data, the EU's gas storage facilities were on average 85.99 percent full on Sunday. Across the EU, the rule has been in place since the spring that storage facilities must be 80 percent full by Nov. 1. This target had already been reached by the end of August. 18 member states have underground gas storage facilities.

The fill level of Germany's largest storage facility in Rehden, Lower Saxony, is currently just under 75 percent. Due to a planned maintenance of this storage facility, there has been no more injection or withdrawal since last Monday. The maintenance is scheduled to last until next Saturday.

According to German Economics Minister Robert Habeck, there is a chance for Germany to "get through the winter well" despite the lack of Russian gas. A chance - the Green politician added the word again on Monday before journalists in Lubmin. For this, he said, a lot would have to be saved in Germany, and one would need "a bit of luck with the weather." But at least, by his own admission, he would not have said that a few months ago.

According to a report by ARD's capital city studio, meanwhile, German Economics Minister Habeck has called into question the gas levy decided by the government. At an internal Green meeting last week, he reportedly said that if the gas utility Uniper were to be nationalized, the gas levy could be replaced by comprehensive state aid.

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