Is Germany Facing a Gas Crisis?
Is Germany Facing a Gas Crisis?

Germany is saving less gas than necessary to rule out shortages this winter, the head of the German grid agency has said, as the country missed its crucial target of a 20% cut in consumption last week amid dropping temperatures.

Germany, which used to draw about half of its natural gas needs from Russia before the start of the Ukraine war, has scrambled to open up new sources of energy during the last ten months.

Nonetheless, in the summer, the economy minister, Robert Habeck, announced a target of overall savings of 20% across Germany, higher than the 15% goal set by the European Commission.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage units at an import terminal on the Isle of Grain, Rochester, England.

After a relatively mild autumn during which German businesses and households saved more gas than required by the emergency plan, and storage tanks rose to almost 100% as a result, a cold snap at the end of last week has rung alarm bells.

“Currently, the total savings are only 13%,” Klaus Müller, the head of the federal network agency for utilities, Bundesnetzagentur, told Tagesspiegel newspaper on Monday.

“If this remains an outlier, we need not worry yet. But it will remain cold in the next few days,” he said. “With temperatures of -10C [14F], gas consumption shoots up dramatically.”

For now, Germany’s gas storage tanks remain about 95% full, and the country is planning to ceremonially unveil its first terminal for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven on Saturday.

“We are now getting gas from several sources,” Müller said. “We will soon have three terminals for liquid gas, and we are getting good deliveries from Norway, Holland, Belgium and also via France.”

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