France targets 100% gas storage utilisation by Nov: press
France expects to fill 100% of its strategic gas reserve capacity by November 1, surpassing the EU's 80% requirement for the winter demand season, Reuters reported August 3, citing comments by French energy transition minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher.
Gas Infrastructure Europe gas inventory database indicates France held 79.95% of its storage capacity as of August 1, with 105.2 TWh of gas held. Around 15% of French energy utility Engie's overall capital expenditure was spent on stocking up on energy supplies in the first half of this year.
Storengy is Engie's wholly-owned gas storage subsidiary with 14 French underground facilities under its management, nine of which are located in aquifers. A further four Storengy storages are based in salt caverns, while a single storage lies in a depleted upstream deposit.
Agnes Pannier-Runacher's remarks came as Brussels pressed its 15% gas consumption reduction policy across EU markets. The EU Council said July 26 member states had struck a political accord on a "voluntary reduction" from five-year gas consumption averages, with cuts to take place incrementally from August 1 to March-end 2023. If security of supply deteriorates further, Brussels, in coordination with member states, can propose making the policy mandatory.
A special-opt out from the mandatory scenario was introduced for EU member states with limited links to other EU gas grids, however Governments must also demonstrate that piped gas and domestic LNG capacity is re-exporting gas to the "fullest" to other EU countries.
Countries like France that expect to have "overshot" gas storage filling targets can also request a derogation, as can countries heavily dependent on gas feedstock for critical industries, and members that have seen gas demand soar by at least 8% in the past year, compared with their previous five-year average.