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Germany's gas consumption rose too much last week to levels higher than in previous years, and without considerable gas conservation—including from households—Europe's biggest economy will find it difficult to avoid gas shortages this winter, Germany's Federal Network Agency, Bundesnetzagentur, said on Thursday.
Starting from today, the agency—the regulator to impose rationing in case of severe shortages—will publish weekly figures about gas consumption in Germany. Last week's consumption from businesses and households at 483 GWh/week was well above the average seen throughout the 2018 to 2021 period when it was 422 GWh/week. Last week, German gas consumption rose by 14.5 percent compared to the average of the previous years, mostly because that week was colder than comparable weeks in the past four years.
However, the savings needed to avoid gas shortages should be achieved regardless of temperatures, the German regulator said today.
"Without significant savings, also in the private sector, it will be difficult to avoid a gas shortage in the winter," the agency's president Klaus Müller said.
The past week's gas consumption numbers are very sobering, he added.
Germany's gas storage sites are over 91% full, but the country will survive the winter without rationing and shortages only under three conditions, Müller said. First, bringing the projects for LNG imports online, second, gas supply in Germany's neighbors remaining stable, and third, Germany conserving gas even when it gets colder as winter approaches, he added.
If the coming winter is colder than usual, Germany could see severe nationwide gas shortages, which it will not be able to predict more than two weeks in advance, Müller said earlier this month.
"I can't give an exact forecast of where the risk of a shortage is the greatest," Müller told German business daily Handelsblatt in mid-September.
"If we get a very cold winter, we have a problem."
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.