D.he federal government has rejected fears of gas bottlenecks in the coming winter. “The security of supply in Germany is still high,” said a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Economics on Wednesday in Berlin. “We don’t see any supply bottlenecks at the moment.” The demand in the market is being met. Nevertheless, the situation is being monitored continuously.
Gas prices in Europe are currently reaching new record highs. The reasons for this are increasing global demand and currently low stocks in the EU. Across Europe, the warehouses are currently only 77 percent full, according to experts, stocks of over 90 percent would be normal at this time of the year.
According to the Ministry of Economics, gas storage levels in Germany are currently 75 percent. That was “admittedly still lower than in previous years,” said the spokeswoman. The stocks increased slowly, however. In addition, with a level of this type in winter 2015 and 2016, “no bottlenecks” were observed. Last but not least, the pure percentage of the storage tank filling is not the only indication that the total in Germany is “very high”.
EU Commission is considering joint gas purchases
In view of the sharp rise in energy prices, the EU Commission wants to examine whether the states could buy gas together. The Commission said in Brussels on Wednesday that it would be investigated whether such an approach would bring benefits to the countries. “The current situation is extraordinary, but the internal energy market has benefited us for 20 years,” said Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson.
She added that the reactions of the states to the high prices so far are in line with EU law. 20 countries have responded, among other things, with tax cuts or aid for the poor. In Germany, the high energy prices meet the talks on the formation of a government and the efforts to achieve the climate protection goals. Among other things, the price on CO2 emissions makes fossil fuels more expensive.
The reasons for the high prices are, on the one hand, the economic recovery of the states after the Corona crisis. The past, comparatively harsh winter also contributed, as the gas storage tanks are not as full as usual.
There are also voices who hold Russia jointly responsible because it hardly supplies any additional natural gas. Among the Greens in Germany, for example, this feeds the suspicion that the country is trying to put pressure on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to go into operation quickly. It is currently still going through the certification process at the Federal Network Agency, only then can it start operating commercially.
In the past, Russia has always refused to change deliveries; all contracts would be respected. Energy Minister Nikolai Schulnigow said on Wednesday that Russia could certainly deliver more natural gas to Europe – but new contracts would have to be concluded. “We can talk about the increased demand for our gas,” he told the Russian broadcaster Rossija-24. Russia has always been and will always be a reliable supplier.