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The European Union’s gas storage facilities have been filled to 80 percent, the bloc’s Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said in a tweet.
The EU had set itself a deadline in October to have its gas storage caverns 80 percent full ahead of the start of the heating season amid greatly weakened energy supply security and reduced Russian gas flows via the Nord Stream 1.
Simson’s announcement follows a similar one made by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen earlier this week, celebrating the achievement. However, it has come at a price and it will not ensure a sufficient supply for the European Union throughout the winter.
U.S. liquefied natural gas imports were instrumental for the EU’s ability to fill up its storage earlier than its deadline but it has pushed the bloc’s gas bill ten times higher than what the EU normally pays for gas.
Demand reduction is also on the agenda. Earlier this week, the head of Germany’s energy regulator Klaus Mueller said the European Union’s largest economy would need to reduce its gas consumption by at least a fifth in order to have a chance of getting through winter. Even if its gas storage caverns reach a fill level of 95 percent, it would not be enough for three months of consumption, Mueller said.
According to the Bloomberg report about von der Leyen celebrating the early filling of gas storage caverns, the amount in them could only cover between 25 and 30 percent of gas consumption during the winter.
“We will meet the goal before the heating season despite very difficult situation on the energy market, Gazprom’s dirty games around Nord Stream 1 and several member states being already completely cut off from Russian supplies,” Jerzy Buzek, a member of the European Parliament, told Bloomberg.
“Full gas storages will certainly not solve all our current problems, but they do allow European citizens to feel more secure and confident before the coming winter.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.