EU Gas Storage Rises to 94.4% Full
EU storage facilities were 94.4% full as of September 23, putting the amount of gas available for the winter at 1,049 TWh. This compares with last year's peak of around 1081 TWh, recorded late October-early November. If storage capacity in Ukraine is included, this year's total rises to 1,289 TWh. Ukrainian storage is 74.2% full, after an anomalous 50 GWh withdrawal which briefly interrupted the steady rise. Last year it peaked at 228 TWh, compared with this year's 282 TWh mid-September.
As the injection season nears its end, and the pressure inside the facilities rises, the rate slows down. And a spell of cold weather is expected in northwest Europe which might even lead to net withdrawals, depending on the day-ahead price. Injection will also be less than possible because the interruptible virtual reverse flow through the major Ukraine-Slovakia transit system at Velke Kapusany (VK) will not be available from next month. Instead the gas – up to 200 GWh/d – will flow physically through the Budince pipeline, which is operational once more after summer maintenance and repairs on the Ukraine side.
EU gas demand for this winter has a major unknown element: how employees and employers in Europe will balance the personal and corporate risks and rewards of home working versus office working. Residential heating demand could be much higher, all things being equal, than last year, when household boilers were inactive for most of the day. In the UK, which has high household gas penetration, summer demand is typically about half winter demand.