INES calls for measures to improve security of gas supply

The Initiative Erdgasspeicher e.V. (INES) warns against insufficient measures in the storage of natural gas in Germany in a recent statement to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

INES criticizes the results of a storage study commissioned by the Ministry, which was performed after a Federal Council initiative from Bavaria. While INES shares the opinion of the experts that the high level of security of supply in Germany to a significant degree depends on sufficiently filled gas storage facilities. However, the opinion that sufficient storage levels can only be ensured through economic incentives with accompanying measures at the most, is incomprehensible to INES.

"The fact that the authors come to this conclusion is incomprehensible. After all, the target storage levels have already fallen under target levels several times," says Andreas Kost, Managing Director of INES. The target storage levels declared by the authors in a simulation are calculated on the basis of potential supply gaps during the winter months, in order to ultimately prevent supply risks. According to this, levels of between 40 and 60 percent are required for a largely secure supply of natural gas as of 1 February. In the past, however, natural gas storage often lay at lower levels by the end of the winter, which meant that there would be a significant supply gap in the event of a sudden cold spell or gas shortage.

Also, INES does not see it as a given that, without market adjustments, storage will always be sufficiently filled in the future. For this reason, storage access will be worse off than other, less reliable sources of flexibility at the gas import points and therefore only the second choice for market participants.

INES therefore recommends adapting the network access and network charging system for storage facilities and introducing measures to ensure certain minimum levels at the end of the winter. "A storage retention obligation can complement measures to reduce the lack of economic incentives and ensure that the storage facilities are filled with natural gas according to specifications," says Ulrich Duda, also Managing Director of INES.

Download INES Position Paper