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31 July 2023

EU Achieves 90% Gas Storage Capacity Ahead of Winter

The European Union has achieved a significant milestone by successfully restocking its gas storage facilities to 90 percent of capacity in preparation for the winter season.

The Directorate-General for Energy of the 27-member EU announced, "The figures published today show that gas storage levels have reached 1024 TWh [terawatt hours] or 90.12 percent of storage capacity (equivalent to just over 93 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas)".

Last year, the EU implemented a regulation mandating that gas storage facilities within the region must be filled to 90 percent of capacity by November 1 each year. Remarkably, this year's target has been met approximately two months ahead of the deadline.

EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson expressed confidence in the EU's readiness for winter, stating, "Today’s confirmation that we have met our gas storage requirements so far ahead of schedule underlines that the EU is well-prepared for winter and this will help to further stabilize markets in the coming months."

Simson acknowledged the sensitivity of the gas market and emphasized the importance of continued vigilance. "The Commission will continue to monitor the situation, so that storage levels remain sufficiently high as we enter the next winter. Let me recall that we can further strengthen our position through investments in renewables and energy efficiency."

The regulation, introduced in response to price increases following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, underscores the crucial role of underground gas storage facilities in ensuring the security of gas supply. These facilities provide an additional source of gas during periods of high demand or supply disruptions.

The regulation mandates that each member state must fill gas storage facilities to at least 90 percent of capacity. However, EU countries with larger facilities are permitted to replenish only up to 35 percent of their average annual gas consumption over the previous five years.

In addition to gas stockpiles, the EU has established a platform for collective gas purchases to further secure its energy supply. Under the EU Energy Platform, the group can consolidate demand, negotiate with international partners, and coordinate collective gas purchases.

These efforts have been successful, with the platform facilitating significant gas demand matches with international suppliers. European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic highlighted the value of collaboration, saying, "It shows that we can have significant added-value by joining forces, pooling our demand and working together to guarantee stable and affordable gas supplies to the EU market."