The EU reached its target of filling gas storage facilities to 90% of capacity more than two months ahead of the November 1 deadline, according to the latest figures released by Gas Infrastructure Europe. Aimed at optimising EU preparation for the coming winter, the gas storage regulation of June 2022 set a binding target of 90% filling storage facilities by 1 November each year, with interim targets for EU countries. Gas storage is key for security of supply in Europe as it can cover up to one-third of the EU’s gas demand in winter. The latest figures show that gas storage levels had by mid-August reached 1024 TWh or 90.12% of storage capacity, equivalent to just over 93 billion cubic metres of natural gas.
EU Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson commented: “[This] confirmation that we have met our gas storage requirements so far ahead of schedule underlines that the EU is well-prepared for winter and this will help to further stabilise markets in the coming months. The EU energy market is in a much more stable position than it was this time last year, in good part because of the measures we have taken at EU level. But we have seen in recent weeks that the gas market remains sensitive. The Commission will continue to monitor the situation, so that storage levels remain sufficiently high as we enter the next winter.”
The EU has taken a wide range of measures following the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to be better prepared for the winter. The gas demand reduction regulation (August 2022) stimulated a 18% drop in gas consumption from August 2022 to May 2023, and has now been extended for a further year. To find alternative sources of gas, the Commission has initiated a concerted international outreach for alternative gas supplies – notably in the form of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). In addition, the EU Energy Platform has already hosted two calls for joint purchases of gas, with a third call to be launched in the second half of September. Key investments at EU and national level have also increased the EU’s LNG import capacity and reinforced the resilience of the EU gas system.