The Initiative Erdgasspeicher e.V. (INES) today published a position paper on the current debate about a strategic natural gas reserve and the role of natural gas storage for the energy supply in Germany. In addition to the correction of incorrectly set incentives for a market-based use of natural gas storage, INES demands additional measures to store adequate gas quantities in storage facilities.
"The fundamental role of natural gas storage in optimizing the expansion and operation of natural gas networks, as well as ensuring system stability under peak load and supply bottlenecks, is not adequately compensated in the current market and regulatory environment," said Bernd Protze, Director of the INES Board. Against this background, the economic operation of storage facilities and sufficient management for security of supply are increasingly at risk. "Drastically increasing transport costs for storage customers and insufficient pricing of balancing energy endanger the security of supply and ultimately lead to increased costs for the general public," continued Protze.
In addition to promoting the market-based use of natural gas storage facilities, INES considers a legally defined, preventive guarantee of the supply standard in the German gas market to be necessary. "The EU regulation on gas supply security makes certain demands on the ability of the member states. In the German gas market, unlike in most neighboring European countries, none of the market participants is obliged to prove that they have taken appropriate preventative measures to ensure the standard of supply," emphasizes Protze.
INES therefore considers the mandatory provision of natural gas storage by gas operators as an appropriate measure of improving security of supply. In addition, according to INES, a state-organized supply of gas can make sense.