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Post: Gas storage tanks are draining too quickly


Due to the cold weather, gas consumption in Germany increased by a quarter. The stores are still full – but they are emptying. How fast can this go?

“The gas supply in Germany is currently stable,” says the daily report on the website of the Federal Network Agency. Security of supply is now guaranteed. However, the authority considers the overall situation “still tense” and warns of a possible “deterioration of the situation”.

Background: Gas consumption has increased sharply in Germany. At the 46th calendar week in mid-November, it was still 20 percent below the average for the past four years, according to the Federal Network Agency. However, it increased by around 28 percent compared to the previous week. The main reason for this is probably the sudden gust of cold after an extraordinarily hot October: 0.7 degrees colder than in previous years, according to the Federal Network Agency.

Gas consumption is highly dependent on the weather

Agency boss Klaus Müller said on Tuesday evening’s ARD talk show “Maischberger” that gas consumption in Germany is largely dependent on people’s temperature and warming behavior. Gas storage tanks are now almost 99 percent full. But they’re draining day by day: “It’s essentially saving,” says the network agency’s report.

Müller explains that if Germany runs out of gasoline overnight, the stored gas will last about nine to ten weeks. However, this scenario is “absolutely unlikely”, for example, thanks to deliveries via Norway, the Netherlands or Belgium.

But even a two-week period of freezing cold can cause storage levels to plummet: “Assuming it’s minus ten or minus twelve degrees, maybe even across Germany – then we can see that very, very quickly. And then we 90, 80, 70 It would have been – maybe a little less,” says Müller.

Federal Network Agency with daily status report

It is not just the weather that plays a decisive role in the security of gas supplies in Germany. The Federal Network Agency, in its reports on its website recently, listed a total of five indicators that anyone can now use to assess the current situation at a glance:

Indicators for assessing the gas supply situation

In addition to the temperature forecast, temperature-adjusted gas consumption, storage levels, the situation in neighboring countries, and the possibility of providing control energy – i.e. reserves that can stabilize the electricity grid are also listed.

Current temperature forecast: “Nervous”

Indicators are updated daily. They are like speedometers, scales each having three values: stable, tense, critical. All pointers are currently in the “fixed” position in the blue area – only the indicator for temperature estimation is in the “tense” position.

The weather remains chilly as the Federal Network Agency promises the weather won’t improve over the next few days: “The forecast temperature for this week is 0.68 degrees Celsius below the average for the past four years. Therefore, additional consumption is expected,” says the Federal Network Agency.

Eventually, the federal government decides on gas shortages.

But even if one or more screens go into critical areas, the emergency level isn’t declared automatically – “there is no automatism,” Müller said when the new system was introduced. For example, temperature forecasting is likely to play a less important role than, for example, levels in gas storage tanks.

The Federal Network Agency created a curve with an estimate for this indicator. From this you can see how the fill levels should develop in the future so that there are no shortages. For example, if the curve was between 40 and 55 percent on February 1, 2023, the situation would be tense and below 40 percent would be critical, explains Müller.

However, the indicators are designed to provide only an overview, to be “points of reference” when discussing a gas shortage. “We’re making it transparent whether a gas shortage is imminent,” says Müller. “Continuous monitoring ensures that measures are taken and action taken in a timely manner.” Eventually, the federal government decides whether to declare a gas shortage.

Source: ZDF

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