Germany to miss gas storage target amid winter shortage warnings | business news

Germany will miss its gas reserves target set by the government to avoid a winter energy crisis amid a reduction in Russian supply, the country’s regulator has warned.

Klaus Mueller, president of the Federal Network Agency, said there was “barely a chance” of hitting the November benchmark because some storage sites were already depleted.

He also warned that Germany – Europe’s largest economy – faced two harsh winters.

The country is currently in the second phase of a three-stage emergency plan to reduce its heavy reliance on Russian gas after the invasion of the Kremlin Ukraine.

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Moscow has slashed flows to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline since mid-June and currently supplies just 20% of agreed volumes, blaming technical problems.

However, the move is seen as politically motivated in retaliation for sanctions that prompted accusations that the Kremlin uses energy as a “weapon”.

Germany has already reached its first target of gas storage facilities being 75% full by September 1.

The next objectives are that the stock levels are at 85% on October 1 and at 95% the following month.

Mueller told news website t-online: “I don’t expect that we will hit the next storage targets as quickly as the first one.

Reaching the 85% target by fall “is not impossible, but it is very ambitious,” especially if the heating is already being used, he said.

He added: “We did not reach an average level of 95% for November 1 in all our projections.

“There’s hardly any chance of achieving that because some storage sites started very low.”

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Russia has cut supplies through the Nord Stream pipeline

Mueller said the Germans should save gas as they face potential problems for a couple of years.

He continued: “It’s not just about one winter, it’s about at least two and next winter could be even more difficult.

“It’s not just one winter, but at least two. And the second winter could be even more difficult.”

“We have to save a lot of gas for at least another year.

“To put it plainly: It’s going to be at least two stressful winters.”

Mueller noted that shortages in the coming winter were “likely” in some regions.

“Deficits will likely be temporary at first and then could stop or come back repeatedly,” he said, which may result in gas having to be transported to affected areas.

Household energy bills in Germany are set to soar this winter, while power shortages threaten to hamper economic growth.

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