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The Netherlands could decide this month whether it will fill its largest gas storage facility past 80%, Dutch officials told Reuters on Tuesday.
The news comes as Europe moves to replenish gas supplies heading into the winter months.
The EU is looking to break the chains of Russian oil and gas dependence, but the road to doing so will not be easy. While the EU attempts to replenish their gas stores to be able to withstand the upcoming heating season, some EU countries have tried to steer their residents toward reducing thermostats, shortening showers, and sourcing firewood.
Meanwhile, others are capping the price of household energy—a measure that critics argue will only increase energy usage rather than curb it.
Energy prices continue to skyrocket in much of Europe, and it is widely expected to increase even further this winter. The current high price of natural gas makes the Netherlands’ decision to possibly add more gas to storage even more critical, with the country choosing between high costs of natural gas now to refill that storage, vs. potentially running out or paying even more for natural gas later this winter.
Dutch gas storage facilities are currently 70% full, according to Reuters. The EU has a goal to fill all gas storage to 80% by November. The Netherland’s largest gas storage facility, the Norg storage plant, already achieved the 80% full mark, and efforts to fill it further have for now been suspended. The facility currently houses 5 billion cubic meters of natura gas, the Economic Affairs Ministry said, according to Reuters.
The cost to fill Norg to just 80% was estimated at more than $6 billion. It is not yet clear how the Dutch government would finance additional gas supplies for the facility, which is estimated to hold another 1.2 billion cubic meters.
The government is said to be in discussions not only whether to keep filling Norg, but to what capacity and how it would be done.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.