Gas storage law is to apply longer than previously planned

The gas storage law, which prescribes the filling levels of the storage facilities in Germany, is to apply longer than the previous period. So far, the law should expire on April 1, 2025, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck plans to extend the period of validity by two years. A spokeswoman for the ministry confirmed this online. A reference draft is now being worked on.

The gas storage law was introduced in response to the energy crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has been in effect since the end of 2022. It stipulates that the gas storage facilities must be 85 percent full on October 1 of a year, 95 percent on November 1, and 95 percent on November 1 February 1 at 40 percent. The storage operators are initially responsible for this. If this does not succeed, a subsidiary of the German gas pipeline operator, Trading Hub Europe, comes into play.

The gas storage facilities are intended to compensate for peaks in demand during cold periods and thus ensure an even supply of gas. In the winter of 2021/2022, levels were historically low, especially those operated by Gazprom, according to the government.

The Gas Storage Act proved to be an essential building block for strengthening precautions and guaranteeing security of supply last winter, the statement said. “It should therefore be extended, as it continues to be of great importance for strengthening precautionary measures.”

Most recently, according to the Federal Network Agency, the gas storage facilities in Germany were 68.81 percent full. The current fill levels are comparable to 2019 and significantly higher than in the spring of 2018 and 2021. The agency is now concentrating on refilling the storage tanks by next winter. As of September 1, 75 percent is mandatory.

According to calculations by a research team from the Center for Sustainability at the Hertie School in Berlin, Germany consumed 23 percent less natural gas in the second half of 2022 than would otherwise have been expected. In the meantime, the pressure on the gas markets has eased, but the International Energy Agency points out that the global gas supply will also be tight in 2023.


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