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Level drops – Germany’s gas storage tanks are being tapped again

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Markus Soeder Bavarias State Premier a

After Russian gas deliveries through the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1 were stopped, gas suppliers are again using gas storage to meet demand. According to information from Europe’s gas infrastructure operator (GIE), the filling level of German gas storage facilities fell slightly by 0.06 percent on Wednesday. The day before it had risen by 0.09 percent.

“It is now being saved again – but only to a small extent,” said a spokeswoman for the Federal Network Agency on Thursday. In view of the lack of deliveries from Russia, the gas suppliers used other means. They either shopped elsewhere in the market or resorted to the gas storage facilities. That is also a question of price.

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In order to avoid a gas shortage in winter, Germany is currently trying to fill its gas storage facilities as quickly as possible. According to the law, the gas storage tanks should be 80 percent full by October 1st and 90 percent by November 1st. However, Germany is still a long way from this goal. The gas storage tanks are just 64.5 percent full.

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The fact that the gas storage tanks are currently not being filled up is largely due to the stop in Russian deliveries through the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1. No gas has been delivered through the last most important route for Russian natural gas to Germany since Monday due to maintenance work.

According to the operating company, the work should last until July 21. In Germany there is concern that the pipeline will not be put back into operation after the maintenance work and that gas will run out in winter.

A sustained delivery stop would be a huge challenge in winter

“A delivery stop via Nord Stream 1 presents us with a huge challenge in winter,” said Simon Müller, Director Germany at the think tank Agora Energiewende. Gas consumption in Germany is about three to four times higher in winter than in summer. Gas consumption is concentrated heavily on heating and hot water. Then comes the process heat in industry and the so-called material use, for example to produce fertilizers. A gas shortage cannot be completely prevented in the event of a total failure of Russian supplies: “However, we can contain the negative consequences.”

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Energy expert Claudia Kemfert from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) said that whether there really is a gas shortage depends on various aspects – the establishment of gas supply relationships with countries other than Russia, the constant filling of storage facilities and the saving of gas. “Horror scenarios and scaremongering are inappropriate,” she said. “The biggest challenge anyway is that the entire economy and households have to deal with enormous gas price increases.”

Bundesnetzagentur: “Reduction in consumption” is crucial

A model by the Federal Network Agency with scenarios for Russian gas flows stated: “The domestic reduction in consumption is crucial to ensure our own security of supply and the necessary supply to neighboring countries.”

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“The more we take precautions now, the better we’ll get through the winter,” said Kerstin Andreae, head of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries. In order to store as much gas as possible, everyone can and must help – from industrial companies to individual households. “There are still ways to save energy in almost every household and in public buildings. Every kilowatt hour of gas saved helps us get through the winter better.”

Coal-fired power plants that are in reserve are now to be used to generate electricity instead of gas-fired power plants – in order to save and store gas. Auctions are planned for industrial companies. In addition, the so-called fuel switch is to be made easier so that systems can be operated not with gas but with other energies such as coal or oil.

It could get really expensive for consumers

For the citizens, this mixture situation means: It could be really expensive. According to estimates by the Federal Network Agency, the monthly advance payments for consumers of natural gas will at least triple in the coming year. “For those who are now getting their heating bills, the deductions are already doubling – and the consequences of the Ukraine war are not even taken into account,” said the President of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, the “Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland” on Thursday. “From 2023, gas customers will have to expect discounts to triple, at least,” he added.

Some of the prices on the stock exchanges have increased sevenfold. “It doesn’t all reach consumers immediately and in full, but at some point it has to be paid for. And that’s why it makes so much sense to save more now,” Müller continued.

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Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Network Agency, is pessimistic about the coming winter period.

When asked what he thought of passing on the higher procurement costs of the gas traders to the gas customers with a surcharge, the head of the network agency said: “This is a political decision that has to be weighed very carefully.” You could support the companies with billions. The other variant would be “to announce the prices and then to help those who can no longer carry them”.

Müller countered fears that private households could be supplied with lower priority in the event of a gas shortage. “The German and European legal situation provides for the protection of private households to the end,” he affirmed. “Even in the worst scenario, Germany will continue to get gas – from Norway, from terminals in Belgium or Holland, soon also directly from terminals on the German coast.” probably”.

Source: www.welt.de

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