EU states are on track to reach 80% of natural gas storage capacity by November, the head of Gas Infrastructure Europe tells MNI.
(Corrects story originally published on Aug 11 to make clear that Camille Bonenfant-Jeanneney is president of Gas Storage Europe, not Gas Infrastructure Europe)
All major European Union member states are ahead of target for reaching 80% of natural gas storage capacity by November in the face of a possible winter interruption of Russian supplies, Gas Storage Europe President Camille Bonenfant-Jeanneney told MNI.
A big increase in tanker shipments of liquid natural gas is making up for the decrease in deliveries from Russia so far, Bonenfant-Jeanneney, also CEO of Storengy, said in an interview.
“Due to the large amounts of LNG coming into Europe, and the priority that governments are giving to achieving the 80% target, we really consider there are important efforts to meet this target. Although, as so often in Europe, the situation of specific member states remains diverse,” she said.
While she would not speculate on whether there will be a total shutdown of Russian gas supplies or regarding its potential impact on the storage programme, Bonenfant-Jeanneney said that “all efforts are being made to be prepared for such a situation.”
These include energy solidarity between France and Germany, with an agreement in principle for mutual aid in a crisis. The “molecules vs electrons” deal would see France provide Germany with 5% of its annual gas consumption if needed and Germany provide electricity to France. (See MNI: EU Likely To Seek Broader Deal On Gas Sharing-Officials)
“There is a willingness in both countries to go actually beyond European storage targets – in France to go up to 100% in filling storage capacity, while Germany has indicated its willingness to get up to 95%,” Bonenfant-Jeanneney said.
Atlantic Coast LNG terminals have been “working flat out” in recent months, helping to make up for the big drop in pipeline deliveries from Russia, she said. In the longer term, France plans a fourth LNG terminal and Germany also aims to build more.
All member states are meeting intermediate storage targets for Aug 1, with France and Germany already above Sep 1 targets, according to GIE data.
While the focus on readiness for winter is understandable, Bonenfant-Jeanneney said the EU must balance short-term investment needs with medium- and longer-term requirements for the green energy transition.
This summer’s heatwave has shown the need to focus on climate change , she said, and to ensure that the longer-term investment in infrastructure takes place to meet the EU’s 2030 hydrogen storage needs.