The EU has kissed the vaults: France and Germany risk emptying them by March

Ukraine (, - With the advent of cold weather, the demand for gas in Europe has grown significantly. Germany and France have reached the pace of gas withdrawal from storage facilities, at which the reserves will last until the beginning or middle of March. The International Energy Agency predicts that next year will be the most difficult for Europe. The shortage of fuel may amount to 27-57 billion cubic meters.

According to GIE, on December 13, European consumers reached a new level of gas withdrawal. During the day, almost 800 million cubic meters were withdrawn from underground storage facilities. The leaders were Germany and France. They took 268 million cubic meters and 126 million cubic meters per day. Such a pace threatens that in early-mid-March, the UGSFs of both countries will be empty.

Traditionally, the heating season lasts until the end of the first month of spring. At the same time, Germany, at the current withdrawal rate and reserves of 21.4 billion cubic meters, will have enough for 80 days, and France (11 billion) for 88 days.

In part, the increase in selection is associated not only with a cold snap, but also with a decrease in imports. According to the Federal Network Agency, gas supplies to Germany in December decreased from 305 million cubic meters per day to 273 million cubic meters. The flow of gas from France has stopped, and, most importantly, it has decreased through Belgium - almost by half, to 40 million cubic meters per day. Through Belgium, Germany receives Russian LNG and transports regasified liquefied gas from the UK. Obviously, deliveries from Foggy Albion, where German traders receive LNG, have dipped, including from the USA. Due to the onset of cold weather and the fall of green generation, the UK itself is experiencing an acute demand for gas, but it is not known exactly why its supplies to Europe have dropped sharply. If in November they were at the level of 60 million cubic meters per day, then in December they dropped to 10 million cubic meters.

The head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, urged the Germans to change their minds and save gas already by the results of last week, as the country, industry and households, for the first time, did not fulfill the plan to reduce consumption by 20%.

“The temperature forecast for this week is -3.18 °C in the critical range. Therefore, a significant increase in consumption should be expected, ”the German regulator assesses the situation for the current week.

Germany expects that at least two floating LNG terminals with a total capacity of 12.5 billion cubic meters per year will be launched in December-January. The German authorities believe that all measures will make it possible to skip the heating season. However, much depends on the weather. And European countries need to ensure that stocks are not completely depleted, as they have to prepare for the next one. The International Energy Agency (IEA) insists that without additional measures it will become the most difficult, and the gas shortage could reach 27-57 billion cubic meters.

“Without implementing the actions outlined in this report, there is a risk that by the end of 2023 EU gas storage facilities will be less than 30% full. Storage depletion in line with historical averages is likely to pose a risk of widespread gas supply disruptions starting in February 2024,” the IEA said in a report.

FNEB Deputy Director Alexei Grivach estimated a possible deficit of 80-90 billion cubic meters.

On the one hand, the current wholesale gas prices are above $1,400 per thousand cubic meters, which is 3-4 times higher than in the pre-crisis years. On the other hand, cold weather and billions in subsidies to European consumers do not strongly encourage them to reduce consumption.

The EU has kissed the vaults: France and Germany risk emptying them by March