Gas storage: Europe goes better than expected, will meet the target for winter
Italy remains above the EU average for gas storage with 73.8% on 3 August
(Rinnovabili.it) – Despite the Nord Stream in hiccups, reduced flows in the other pipelines from Russia and a difficult race to diversify, Europe is well on its way to filling gas storage by 80% by the beginning of the winter season. But the effect on the portfolio is obvious: the EU has so far paid out 50 billion euros to stock up, 10 times as much as it normally spent in previous years.
According to data updated on 3 August, the Community levels of gas storage are 70.89% equal to 782 TWh. This is reassuring because it is higher than the filling average of the last 5 years (70.32%) and in line with the average volumes of the last decade (71.4%). And because it puts Europe on the right track to reach its minimum winter target, 80% by 1 November set by the Repower eu plan.
After the April lows, Europe’s diversification efforts quickly yielded good results. Obviously, the largest share of additional imports replacing Russian gas comes in the form of LNG. The figures speak for themselves: in the first half of this year, Europe imported 21.36 million tonnes of liquid natural gas, almost three times as much as in 2021. And for the first time in history, in June the EU received more LNG from the US than pipeline gas from Moscow.
Given the current storage levels, to reach the target of 80% Europe will still have to pull out something like 26 billion euros, when in the pre-crisis period the cost of the total filling after the winter was around 5 billion. This is based on the Dutch TTF, the main benchmark for the price of gas in Europe, which is now stable at levels threefold compared to the beginning of the year.
Italy – the 2nd EU country for available storage volumes after Germany – is doing a bit better than the European average, with 73.8% filling. “We have restored the trend that must bring us to 90%“, commented last night the Minister of Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani, during the press conference to present the decree Aid bis. Ensuring once again that in the coming months, until spring 2023, there should be no problems: “If we were to fail in regasification plants we must be very careful, but with storage, diversification and the savings plan there should be no need for gas rationing”.