For weeks, Klaus Müller, President of the Federal Network Agency, called on Germans to save gas. There was great concern about a gas shortage in winter. Now Müller gives the all-clear, but appeals to the solidarity of the citizens.
Bundesnetzagentur President Klaus Müller believes that the risk of a gas shortage this winter has been overcome. “Despite all the remaining uncertainty: I don’t expect anything else to go wrong this winter,” Müller told the “Bild am Sonntag”. “I now assume that the storage tanks will be more than 50 percent full by the end of winter. We are now concentrating on next winter.”
Since Christmas, the Federal Network Agency has become increasingly optimistic, Müller continues. “The gas storage facilities are more than 90 percent full – a remarkable value, as they were rarely this high in January.” According to the Federal Network Agency, 14 percent less gas was consumed in Germany in 2022 than in 2021. “This is a great joint achievement by everyone who used gas sparingly,” says Müller. But it also helped that we sent a third less gas to our neighbors and received constant gas supplies from Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and France.
The federal government has set itself the goal that the gas storage facilities will be 40 percent full by February 1st. According to Müller, this goal can no longer be missed: “You should never say never, but yes: the assumption that we will miss this goal is not realistic.”
Nevertheless, the head of the Federal Network Agency warns against stopping saving now, for example when heating or showering. “That would not only be very expensive, but also lacking in solidarity,” said Müller. “In the end, increasing gas consumption also leads to higher gas prices for the energy-intensive industry, which can finally work on making up ground again after the price explosions in the summer. In addition, for every kilowatt hour that we save now, we no longer have to buy expensively in summer to refill the gas storage tanks.”
With the prices that have fallen sharply recently, Müller expects the price fluctuations to end. “Gas is currently costing the same as it did in December 2021. Mainly because Europe has successfully filled up its gas storage facilities and thus removed the basis for possible speculation,” says Müller. “There is much to suggest that we have reached a price plateau that we can count on for the next one to two years.
But there are three major risk factors: The next winter can be colder. China’s recently lower gas consumption may pick up again. And the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines showed that there is a security risk for the gas infrastructure.”