Natural gas reserves in Germany, which has one of the highest underground gas storage capacities in Europe, have fallen to historically low levels compared with previous years.
“According to the consolidated register of gas storage facilities of the European association Gas Infrastructure Europe, Germany’s gas storage facilities are 50.6% full (as of January 11, 2022),” the German Ministry of Economy said in response to a deputy’s request as quoted by RIA. “This corresponds to a theoretical working gas availability of 17.7 days,” it added.
This comes as Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Monday it has not booked any capacity to pump gas to Europe through the Yamal pipeline next month. The Yamal-Europe pipeline, which usually delivers Russian gas west into Europe, continued to send it eastward from Germany to Poland for a 28th successive day on Monday, data from German network operator Gascade showed.
The route between Poland and Germany had been operating in reverse mode since December 21, putting upward pressure on European gas prices.
Economists are warning of energy price spikes deeper into the winter, saying that Europe is yet to find itself physically short of gas during the current gas year, which began in October.
Overall, European storage facilities were 49.33% full as of January 12, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe. If the current rate of withdrawal is sustained, Europe’s reserves could be fully depleted by the end of winter delivery, it said.