Belgium, France and Portugal are maximizing their storage reserves. Germany is reaching record-breaking volumes of gas stored in its underground facilities. Latvia is breaking new ground and is implementing for the first time a two-way natural gas flow, allowing it to juggle between storage injection and withdrawal modes.
These developments have helped the EU be prepared for the winter. According to AGSI, the storage transparency platform of Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), 95% of filling level can cover on average 28% of the EU’s annual gas consumption2, with some variations at national level. With 58% of filling level, Latvia, which has one of the most extensive storage capacities compared to its population size, can cover 120% of its annual gas consumption, while Sweden, with 93% of storage filling level, can supply 0.7% of this demand, relying therefore on other security of supply tools.
Camille Bonenfant-Jeanneney, President of Gas Storage Europe (GSE), GIE’s column for underground gas storage, states: “The efforts of Member States and Storage System Operators (SSOs) in response to the new geopolitical context have been remarkable. But there is no place for complacency: beyond the recent gas storage regulation3 which introduced storage obligations, this high storage filling level also results from exogenous factors, such as close to normal Russian inflows in the first half of 2022, lower LNG demand in Asia and high spot LNG exports to Europe. Given the uncertainty around next year, we need concrete policy actions to refill gas storages in view of the next heating season.”
SSOs have started to prepare for 2023-2024 winter. By 15 November 2022, the European Commission will adopt an Implementing Act setting up their filling trajectory for 2023. In particular, storage facilities will have to be filled up to at least 90% by 1 November 2023 and follow a more rigorous filling path consisting of 4 intermediary targets4, compared to 3 in 2022.