Feb 3, 2023
Germany Saved Too Little Gas in Recent Weeks, Regulator Warns
(Bloomberg) -- German households and businesses saved too little gas in the second half of January, according to the country’s network regulator.
Gas consumers only saved 8.6% in the last week of January compared to the average use between 2018 and 2021, and 14% when taking colder temperatures into account, Klaus Mueller, President of the regulator BNetzA, said in a Twitter post on Friday. He issued a similar warning the previous week, and has said Germany needs to cut gas consumption by at least 20% to help offset the loss of supplies from Russia.
The European Union this week was urged to curb demand to ensure it can make it through next winter — especially if Russian supplies don’t return. Germany was particularly dependent on Russian gas prior to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, and imports of liquefied natural gas aren’t yet sufficient to substitute those volumes.
“I would not declare an end to the energy crisis. I think we have a way to go,” Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Wael Sawan cautioned in an interview with Bloomberg TV this week.
While German household consumption has fluctuated with changing weather conditions throughout the winter, industrial consumers drove a large part of the overall savings last year. Those savings have started to diminish, signaling an uptick in industrial demand amid falling wholesale gas prices.
At the same time, Germany’s fuel storage facilities are more than 78% full, and therefore well above the government’s target of 40% for Feb. 1, according to the regulator’s data. Mueller said this was “good” and would help prepare the country for next winter.
(Updates with Shell comments, additional details from fourth paragraph.)
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