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EU reaches 90% gas storage target ahead of schedule

The EU has reached its target of filling gas storage facilities to 90 per cent of capacity roughly 2 and a half months ahead of the 1 November deadline, according to the latest figures released by Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE).

Aimed at optimising EU preparation for the coming winter, the gas storage regulation of June 2022 set a binding EU target of 90 per cent filling storage facilities by 1 November each year, with interim targets for EU countries. Gas storage is key for the security of supply in Europe as it can cover up to one-third of the EU’s gas demand in winter. The figures show that gas storage levels have reached 1,024 terawatt-hours (TWh) or 90.12 per cent of storage capacity (equivalent to just over 93 billion cubic metres of natural gas).

“Today’s confirmation that we have met our gas storage requirements so far ahead of schedule underlines that the EU is well-prepared for winter and this will help to further stabilise markets in the coming months,” said EU Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson. “The EU energy market is in a much more stable position than it was this time last year, in good part because of the measures we have taken at the EU level. But we have seen in recent weeks that the gas market remains sensitive.”

“GIE members maintain a robust network for natural gas transport and storage,” stated Torben Brabo, GIE President. “Currently, our priority is preparing Europe for the upcoming winter while ensuring supply security. Looking ahead, we’re integrating locally produced biomethane into existing infrastructure and advancing our infrastructure towards a hydrogen economy. This evolution will enable the accommodation of more renewable and low-carbon gases for sectoral decarbonisation and renewable energy system integration. Security of supply and decarbonisation are two sides of the same coin.”

At the sate time, Ms Simson reminded that the Commission will continue to monitor the situation so that storage levels remain sufficiently high as we enter the next winter.

Indeed, the EU has taken a wide range of measures following the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to be better prepared for the winter. The gas demand reduction regulation (August 2022) stimulated a 18 per cent drop in gas consumption from August 2022 to May 2023 and has now been extended for a further year. In terms of finding alternative sources of gas, the Commission has spearheaded a concerted international outreach for alternative gas supplies – notably in the form of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). In addition, the EU Energy Platform (through #AggregateEU) has already hosted two calls for joint purchases of gas, with a third call to be launched in the second half of September. Key investments at the EU and national level have also increased the EU’s LNG import capacity and reinforced the resilience of the EU gas system.

“The two first calls for joint purchasing of gas had very positive results, with a total combined of 22.9 bcm of gas demand matched by supply,” commented Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič. “I am pleased that the EU Energy Platform contributed to the EU reaching its target for gas storage early on and more generally to EU energy security ahead of the winter. It shows that we can have significant added value by joining forces, pooling our demand and working together to guarantee stable and affordable gas supplies to the EU market.”

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