German gas reserves 100 percent full following mild autumn

Germany said Tuesday its gas storage facilities were now completely full, helped by a spell of unseasonably warm weather, as the country readies for a winter deprived of Russian energy.

Radiator knob.
What are Austrians doing to save energy? (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

“The total storage level in Germany stands at 100 percent,” the Federal Network Agency said in a daily update. It added that some storage sites were physically capable of holding more gas and that stockpiling “can continue even when the level is 100 percent”.

Europe’s largest economy, which for years was heavily reliant on Russian gas imports, has been scrambling to bolster its reserves after Russia cut deliveries in the wake of its February invasion of Ukraine.

The German government had aimed to have its gas storage sites 95 percent full by November, but it reached the target ahead of time in mid-October.

READ ALSO: How Germany became ensnared by Russian gas

The better-than-expected savings drive was partly down to government efforts to find alternative supplies, especially through imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from countries such as Norway and the United States.

Companies and consumers have also heeded government pleas to reduce consumption, made easier by mild autumn weather which has delayed the traditional start of the heating season.

Recent gas use has been “below the average consumption of the last four years” due to temperatures that were 1.9 degrees Celsius (35.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than in previous years, the Federal Network Agency said.

READ ALSO: ‘A glimpse into our climate future’: Germany logs warmest October on record

Because some storage sites were physically capable of holding more natural gas, stockpiling “can continue even when the level is 100 percent”, it added.

New LNG terminal

The milestone came on the same day that Germany inaugurated its first floating LNG terminal, in the northern port of Wilhelmshaven, seen as a key step towards offsetting some of the lost Russian imports.

READ ALSO: First German port for natural gas imports to go into operation

The first deliveries are scheduled to arrive in December.

Klaus Mueller, the head of the Federal Network Agency, on Twitter hailed the “double success” for Germany’s energy security.

“Wilhelmshaven LNG jetty is ready & gas storage facilities are full to bursting. This is the result of good political decisions,” he tweeted.

“We need this momentum now for the expansion of renewables & their grids.”

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Norway and Germany seek Nato-led cooperation for key undersea structures

Germany and Norway want to start a NATO-led alliance to protect critical underwater infrastructure, their leaders said on Wednesday, weeks after explosions hit two key gas pipelines in the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

Norway and Germany seek Nato-led cooperation for key undersea structures

 “We are in the process of asking the NATO Secretary General to set up a coordination office for the protection of underwater infrastructure,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a press conference in Berlin.

“We take the protection of our critical infrastructure very seriously and nobody should believe that attacks will remain without consequences,” he said.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said the alliance would be “an informal initiative to exchange between civilian and also military actors” with NATO providing “a centre, a coordination point”.

Underwater cables and pipelines were “arteries of the modern economy” and it was necessary to create “a coordinated joint effort to ensure security for this infrastructure”, he said.

Scholz said he and Store would propose the plan to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is due in Berlin for a security conference. The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm were targeted by two huge explosions at the end of September.

The pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, had been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Moscow cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected
retaliation to Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Although they were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

Russia and Western countries, particularly the United States, have traded bitter barbs over who is responsible for the blasts.

Several European countries have since taken steps to increase security around critical infrastructure. 

The G7 interior ministers warned earlier this month at a meeting in Germany that the Nord Stream explosions had highlighted “the need to better protect our critical infrastructure”.

Norway has become Europe’s main gas supplier in the wake of the war in Ukraine, taking the place of Russia.

The Scandinavian country has a vast network of pipelines, stretching for almost 9,000 kilometres, linking it to the continent, which experts have said are at risk of sabotage.