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Federal Government submits report on evaluation of rules on gas reservoirs in accordance with Energy Industry Act
The Federal Cabinet today took note of the report on the evaluation of the rules on gas reservoirs of the Energy Industry Act (EnWG) submitted by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). In a next step, the report will be forwarded to the German Bundestag.
The report on the implementation of the provisions of part 3a of the Energy Industry Act must be drawn up in accordance with section 35f of the Energy Industry Act. According to the Act, two reports must be elaborated. The first report was submitted today. In a first step, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action had to evaluate the implementation of the provisions on gas reservoirs by 15 December 2022 and forward the report to the German Bundestag. In a second step, the Ministry must evaluate the provisions governing gas storage by 1 April 2023.
Last year, the provisions governing gas storage in Germany were adjusted several times. In particular, specific filling level requirements were introduced to step up precautionary measures for the winter and guarantee security of supply in Germany. Adjusting the rules governing gas storage in 2022 was essential to avoid a gas shortage situation and make the crisis manageable.
Gas supply in Germany is currently stable. Security of supply continues to be guaranteed. Taking precautions for the winter of 2023/2024, however, continues to be a major challenge, and filling the gas reservoirs in accordance with the statutory requirements remains important for the winter of 2023/2024.
Details about the report:
The report on the implementation of the provisions of section 3a of the Energy Industry Act adopted by the Federal Cabinet today illustrates the adjustments to the rules governing gas storage made in 2022. It lists the reasons for changes and the legal amendments which were made and summarises the practical implementation and application of the provisions.
Reasons and major legal requirements:
Looking back to the beginning of the winter of 2021/22 shows that it was necessary to adjust the rules. At the beginning of the winter of 2021/22, the gas reservoirs were only around 68% full (status: 1 November 2021), and at the end of March 2022, the gas reservoirs in Germany were on average only around 26% full. At the beginning of the winter of 2021/2022, the Rehden gas reservoir, Germany’s largest gas reservoir, was only around 9.5% full (status: 1 November 2021), and it had been nearly completely emptied by the end of March 2022 (< 1%).
As a consequence, the Federal Government has adjusted the rules and raised the new filling level requirements due to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the cessation of deliveries of Russian gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline contrary to the terms of contracts with Russia.
The following filling level requirements must be met:
- 1 October: 85%
- 1 November: 95%
- 1 February: 40%.
In 2022, it was possible to meet all the new and applicable filling level requirements according to the Energy Industry Act. The average filling levels in Germany were:
- 1 October 2022: 91.79%
- 1 November 2022: 99.19%
- 1 February 2023: 78.15%.
Implementation of the rules on gas reservoirs:
Trading Hub Europe (THE), the market area manager, has played a special role for the filling of the gas reservoirs. THE monitors compliance with the filling level requirements of the individual reservoirs and can itself fill gas reservoirs which do not meet the respective requirements. Last year, for instance, it was necessary for THE to fill the Rehden gas reservoir.
In the course of 2022, the powers of THE to fill reservoirs were expanded in technical and legal respects. While THE initially was allowed to purchase gas only on the German spot market, the legal, technical and financial prerequisites were adjusted in the course of 2022. Since the beginning of October 2022, THE has also made futures market transactions in addition to spot market transactions for sales.
You can find the report for the Bundestag in accordance with section 35f of the Energy Industry Act on the implementation of the provisions of section 3a of the Energy Industry Act adopted by the Federal Cabinet today (in German) here.