Germany needs years to dispense with Russian gas
The European Association of Gas Infrastructure Operators (GIF) said that natural gas storage in Germany fell last week to 213.3 TWh, or 87% of the capacity of storage facilities, compared to a five-year average of 62 TWh. percent for this period of the year.
The storage rate in the previous week was 90%.
At the European Union level, the percentage of filling warehouses reached 78% of their capacity, compared to 83% during the previous week.
Bloomberg, quoting the association’s data, stated that Germany and France recorded the largest weekly changes, calculated in terawatt hours.
Hungary’s gas inventories were the least complete in percentage terms and were the lowest when compared to the five-year average for that period of the year.
Italy was the second least complete country in terms of the percentage of its gas reserves, compared to its average recorded in five years.
This comes at a time when the German Ministry of Economy said yesterday that Germany still needs years to dispense with Russian natural gas supplies, which reach it through pipelines, to be replaced by liquefied natural gas imports.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week that his country had learned a lesson from excessive dependence on Russia, and its goal now is to build capacities that give Germany the opportunity to obtain the quantities of natural gas that it had access to before the Russian war in Ukraine without being imported from Russia.
For its part, the Ministry of Economy said, in response to a group of questions from the German Left Party, that Germany will wait until 2026 in order to provide the necessary capabilities to receive 56 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas annually, which is the same amount that it imported from Russia through pipelines in 2021 before start the war.
By 2030, these capacities will reach 76.5 billion cubic meters annually, equivalent to 80% of Germany’s total gas consumption in 2021.
So far, Germany has succeeded in reducing its dependence on Russia by reducing energy consumption in general, importing liquefied natural gas through the facilities of neighboring countries, and increasing its imports of Norwegian and Dutch gas through pipelines.
But uncertainty surrounds part of these supplies, given plans to decommission the main Groningen gas field next year.
Christian Leh, a member of the German House of Representatives, said: “The truth is that during the next three or four years there will be no LNG production capacities in the world to meet the growing demand for it… Therefore, the unannounced strategy is that Germany will continue to pay crazy prices to buy gas, while it will deprive countries less affluent than this commodity”.
In addition, a recent opinion poll revealed that about 50% of Germans prefer gas as a transitional technology towards renewable energy.
The survey, conducted by the Kantar Public Institute for measuring opinion indicators commissioned by the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation, showed that 44% of Germans favor nuclear energy as a transitional technology, while only 25% mentioned coal as a suitable technology for the transition to renewable energy.
Germany aims to be carbon dioxide neutral by 2045.
For its part, the German Ministry of Economy admitted, in a letter addressed to the German Left Party that it will remain unable to replace Russian gas until 2026, due to the limited capacity of storing liquefied gas compared to needs.
The German Ministry of Economy revealed a contradiction between the statements of officials regarding stopping dependence on Russian gas completely.
The ministry’s letter confirmed that Germany needs about 3 additional years, that is, until 2026, to build a storage capacity for liquefied gas, equivalent to what it reached of Russian gas in only one year, 2021.
According to Sky News, Berlin announced its intention to build two liquefied gas stations and increase its natural gas reserves, in order to dispense with Russia.
Before the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Russian gas accounted for two-thirds of German imports.
The capacity of the liquefied gas stations – which Germany is building at the present time to store imports – expected after 3 years is about 56 billion cubic meters.
Regarding Berlin’s heavy reliance on Russian gas, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz commented last week, saying: “Germany has learned the lesson, and we are building a storage capacity for liquefied gas that will accommodate larger quantities of imported gas than those we used to get before the war, with the exception of imports from Moscow”.
The German Ministry of Economy also indicated that the liquefied gas storage capacity that Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is currently building will reach 76.5 billion cubic meters in 2030, which represents 80% of the country’s consumption in 2021.