According to the Gas Storage Operator Association INES of Germany, it is now “extremely unlikely” that there would be a significant gas shortage in Germany over the upcoming winter. INES determined, after conducting an analysis of potential supply scenarios for the next winter of 2022/2023, that a shortage of natural gas is not likely to occur unless the United States has “very” low temperatures. However, current long-term weather forecasts indicate that the upcoming winter will rather be warmer than typical, according to the statement made by the group. According to INES head Sebastian Bleschke, “the entire filling of gas storages has landed us in a position from which we can presumably safely make it through the approaching winter.” Even if natural gas supplies are expected to be significantly depleted throughout the course of the upcoming winter, the scenarios demonstrated that it should still be possible to adequately stock the storage facilities for the winter of 2023/2024.
INES warned that the capacity for renewed filling would be contingent on the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the internal market of the EU. According to the group, filling levels and consumption across Europe should be continuously monitored. Additionally, LNG import capacities and sustained Russian gas shipments to Europe through Ukraine and Turkey should also be properly examined. According to Bleschke, “important parameters of supply security should remain under observation in order to prevent any unpleasant shocks from occurring.” Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany’s government earlier this year established stringent targets for gas storage filling levels. These targets had been fulfilled ahead of schedule despite the fact that the country lost its most important supply pipeline, the now damaged and defunct Nord Stream 1, in the summer. Germany’s government had set these targets in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. By the middle of November, all of the storage units had been occupied, and the government’s goal is to maintain a level of occupancy of forty percent by the beginning of February of the following year.