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EU Commission report underlines positive impact of gas storage regulation

EU Member States made “substantial and unprecedented efforts” to refill their gas storage facilities in 2022, surpassing the legislative 80 per cent EU-wide storage level target and reaching 94.9 per cent by 1 November 2022, according to a new European Commission’s Report on the implementation of the EU Gas Storage Regulation and Staff Working Document published on 27 March.

The research from both documents assessed the EU’s regulations on gas storage filling targets, introduced after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While there is no immediate correlation between the filling targets and gas prices, the report found that the price spikes for gas cannot be attributed to the targets set by the regulation.

Appropriate measures have been taken to remove the potentially negative influence of non-EU countries on the storage sites’ filling levels, the report also found. Storage facilities formerly owned and operated by Gazprom were filled to 94 per cent by November 2022, compared to just 26 per cent in November 2021.

Gazprom’s gas storage in Europe

In 2021, Gazprom owned or operated around 10 per cent of EU storage capacity. The Gazprom storage sites, which were not refilled before the start of the 2021/2022 winter period, were almost depleted at the end of the gas withdrawal season, according to the gas storage implementation report.

As highlighted in the report, in the summer of 2022, Czechia applied a use it or lose it principle to force market participants with spare storage capacity, above a certain threshold, to give back injection slots to the government. Under this principle, Gazprom’s storage capacity at the Damborice site was withdrawn and placed under the government’s special auction measures. This included the possibility of free auctions and payments to traders in exchange for storing gas.

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