German gas storage association says no risk of shortages this winter

German gas storage association says no risk of shortages this winter

The prospect of gas shortages this winter was “no longer expected” if no additional risks emerge, German gas storage industry association INES said 

Gas storage facilities in Germany began the year with an above average filling level of 91%, according to data corroborated by Gas Infrastructure Europe. As of Jan. 14, German stores were close to 84% full, according to GIE.

INES, representing over 90% of German gas storage capacity, warned that if extremely cold temperatures persisted, gas storage facilities in Germany “could be emptied extensively and the levels could fall to a low of 14% by mid-March.”

“As long as no additional risks arise, there is no longer any fear of a gas shortage for the remainder of the winter, even in extreme cold,” INES Managing Director Sebastian Heinermann said. “The gas storage facilities can be completely filled again before the next winter of 2024/2025.”

Heinermann noted high winter loads occurring in 2023, causing a “significant need for flexibility,” adding that such flexibility in Germany’s gas system had been provided by gas storage facilities, which made a significant contribution to optimizing the import system.

This translated to an average annual import level of some 2.7 TWh/d, and a corresponding production level of 0.01 TWh/d, with INES noting its peak load, which occurred Jan. 24, 2023, spiking to 5.7 TWh/day.

For 2023, INES said that German gas imports fell by about 468 TWh (44 Bcm), or 32% compared with 2022. This was largely due to the “complete cessation” of Russian pipeline gas from Aug. 31, 2022, it said.

German imports of gas totaled 974 TWh in 2023, with some 70 TWh imported via LNG terminals, INES said.

The country’s domestic gas production was recorded at 40 TWh in 2023, a decline of some 6% compared with 2022, the data showed.

Germany’s energy regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur, set a mandated level for its cumulative storage at 40% full by Feb. 1, 2024, with INES stating the target “can be met at all assumed temperature levels.”

Average temperatures in Germany were recorded as low as minus 8 C in parts of the country Jan. 16, according to German Meteorological Service Deutscher Wetterdienst.

Europewide storage facilities were just over 79% full as of the Jan. 14 gas day, with German gas storage sites recorded at 83.68% full over the same period, according to data from GIE.

Gas prices in Europe have largely reflected high gas storages, in addition to robust gas flows from the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed the Dutch TTF month-ahead price at a five-month low of Eur29.96/MWh

16 Jan 2024