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Germany reached in the middle of August its target to have its natural gas storage 75% full, two weeks ahead of plans, data from Gas Infrastructure Europe showed.
As of August 14, Germany's gas storage sites were just over 76% full, according to the data. Storage capacity in Europe's biggest economy is around 23.3 billion cubic meters (bcm), more than one-fifth of the German consumption of 100 bcm in 2021.
The 75% full storage target was set to be reached by September 1, but Germany is now ahead of schedule. The next targets for gas storage filling are to reach 85% by the beginning of October and 95% gas in storage by the start of November.
Despite reaching the first 75% target earlier than planned, Germany continues to be in stage two of a three-stage gas emergency alert as it looks to conserve as much gas as possible ahead of the winter to avoid rationing in the coming months. The situation could deteriorate if Russian gas flows via the Nord Stream pipeline drop further from already significantly reduced volumes.
Last month, Russia cut gas supply via Nord Stream to just 20% of the pipeline's capacity. The further reduction in deliveries began just days after Gazprom restarted the pipeline at 40% capacity after regular 10-day maintenance. Before that, Russian supply was reduced to 40% of Nord Stream's capacity, after Gazprom said a turbine sent to Canada for repairs had been held up by the Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Canada sent the turbine to Germany, but it has not reached Russia yet.
According to Standard Chartered analysts, despite the low levels of Russian deliveries via Nord Stream, EU gas inventories are "still building relatively strongly."
Yet, despite the gas stock builds, industries in Germany and the rest of Europe have been warning they may have to curtail production amid the gas crisis, which could lead to a collapse of supply and production chains.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com