Germany is bracing for a cold, hard winter ahead. The country may have to resort to drastic rationing in the new year, should gas storage levels dip below critical levels.
Data from Gas Infrastructure Europe shows that Germany’s gas storage facilities were 98.95% full as of November 23— a comfortable level to start the cold heating season off. However, with Russia continuing to throttle gas shipments into Europe in retaliation over western sanctions, the drawdowns will continue without any meaningful replenishment as winter progresses. And, should storage levels fall below 40% by February 1, German households may be forced to ration gas.
If the critical gas storage threshold is reached, the German government may be forced to impose emergency conservation across the country. “We will struggle to avoid a gas emergency this winter without at least 20% savings in private households, businesses and industry,” said German energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur head Klaus Mueller. “The situation may become very serious if we do not significantly reduce our gas consumption.” Currently, Germany is sitting at a level 2 alert for gas supplies, but could slip into level 3 emergency if the winter heating season prompts additional drawdowns.
Should Germans across the country fail to scale back their gas consumption, Europe’s largest economy likely won’t be able to avert a full-scale emergency situation this winter, the regulator, along with government officials, have been periodically warning of over the past year. Should winter be unseasonably cold, Germany will likely see substantial nationwide shortages, that experts won’t be able to predict for more than two weeks at a time.
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