Germany warned of threat to gas reserves

Germany’s gas storage facilities may rapidly become depleted if the weather turns cold, Klaus Mueller, the head of Germany’s Federal Network Agency, said in an interview with Der Spiegel published on Friday.

“A few freezing cold days are enough for a dramatic increase in gas consumption. We know from historical data that when it gets really frosty, the storage tanks are quickly drained,” Mueller told the outlet.

The official added that Germany can get through the winter, but only if both citizens and industries join efforts and lower gas consumption by at least 20%. Last month, the country’s industries were able to lower consumption by 27.4%, and private households and businesses did even better with 42%, he said, noting, however, that this had to do with the warm weather and might change in the event of a cold snap.

As of November 2, Germany’s gas storage facilities were 99.3% full, which, according to Mueller, is enough to keep the country going for up to ten weeks as the only source of gas.

Germany, along with other EU states, has been gradually reducing its reliance on Russian energy supplies. According to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, the share of Russian gas among the country’s energy imports recently dropped to 6-8%, while in 2021, more than half of Germany’s gas supply came from Russia.

To make up for the loss, Berlin has focused on building liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. The country will have two floating regasification plants for receiving seaborne LNG by the end of the year, and two more by May 2023, the authorities said. Their total annual capacity is estimated at 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

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