Cold snap drains German gas storages one percent in a single day
The cold snap that has gripped large parts of Europe since early December is taking its toll on gas storages in Germany, which were filled to roughly 100 percent capacity at the beginning of the month. During a prolonged period of temperatures well below zero degrees Celsius, German gas storages lost one percent of their filling volume on Monday, 12 December alone, Klaus Müller, head of the country’s Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), told public broadcaster ZDF in an interview. Müller reiterated calls by the government to curb gas consumption and heating despite the cold weather. “Please be careful with your gas consumption,” Müller said, adding that a storage depletion of one percent per day should remain an “exception.” During what could become one of Europe’s coldest Decembers in a decade, neither private households nor businesses are meeting the government’s consumption reduction targets. “It’s going to become critical if we don’t manage to save 20 percent over the entire winter,” meaning that heating in January and February must be reduced, Müller argued. However, a gas shortage still would not be an imminent risk in Germany. “We’re far from that,” Müller said, pointing out that storages were still at over 90 percent capacity.
Gas storage operators recently reassured the country that it will get through winter safely with its gas supply, because the likelihood of a severe shortage had decreased further due to savings ahead of December. However, the government has warned repeatedly that difficulties could arise especially at the end of the cold period, just ahead of spring, and therefore aims to retain a filling level of at least 40 percent by 1 February next year.