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75 percent: Three months earlier, Germany's natural gas storage facilities reach their first storage target.


A3576 Maurizio Gambarini/ dpa

There is good news from the gas industry: Natural gas storage facilities in Germany are 74.97 percent full, the European gas storage association GIE announced on Friday. This means that the first storage target for the coming heating season has been achieved – three months earlier than planned.

The storage facilities compensate for fluctuations in gas consumption and thus form a buffer for the market. A level of 100 percent was last measured in Germany on the morning of November 14. In winter, the levels usually decrease. From the end of March/beginning of April, more is usually stored in than out again.

The 75 percent mark was introduced last summer during the gas crisis in a new gas storage level ordinance as an interim target of September 1. By October 1, the storage facilities should be 85 percent full, and by November 1 to 95 percent. Levels have been rising every day since May 4.

The lowest filling level of the current year so far was recorded on March 17 at 63.58 percent. A year earlier, on March 17, 2022, German storage facilities were only 24.56 percent full.

Lowest gas price since June 2021

The fact that the first interim target of 75 percent was reached three months earlier may be related to an oversupply on the market for natural gas. Analysts also attribute the decline in the price of natural gas to this. On Tuesday, the trend-setting futures contract TTF for delivery in a month was traded on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. At 23.50 euros per megawatt hour (MWh), natural gas is thus as cheap as it was last in June 2021.

The price of European natural gas has been on a downward trend since the end of last year. The commodity has since fallen sharply in price after rising dramatically last year due to the consequences of the war in Ukraine. At its peak, a record price of more than 300 euros per MWh was paid last summer. The halt in Russian gas supplies had stoked fears of an energy crisis.

While gas prices are falling, gas storage facilities in Germany are becoming more and more filled. Gas reserves have been rising almost continuously for weeks and are significantly higher than last year's figure. The reasons for the higher level are imports of liquefied natural gas, a comparatively mild winter and savings, especially in industry.

Germany's largest storage facility in Rehden, Lower Saxony, which was controlled by the Russian state-owned company Gazprom until the beginning of April 2022, recorded a filling level of just over 88 percent on Thursday morning. Across the EU, the filling level was just under 69 percent.