Federal Council: German 45 Day National Gas Reserve Resolution

On 11 July the Federal Council (Bundesrat) adopted a resolution aimed at ensuring a permanent contribution of gas storage facilities to the German energy supply by asking the German government to create a national gas storage reserve lasting for 45 days.

With this resolution the Federal Council followed the motion by the State of Bavaria, ruled by the conservative CSU party, to create a strategic gas reserve.

The resolution contains three key elements:

  1. The Bundesrat notes that the liberalisation of the gas market and the unbundling of integrated energy supply undertakings have lead to a situation where the aspect of security of supply is no longer sufficiently considered for the operation of gas storage systems. Storage decisions are made by gas traders on the basis of current market signals. The current regulatory framework does not offer the possibility to sufficiently consider the aspect of security of supply when operating gas storage systems.
  2. The Bundesrat asks the Federal Government to improve the security of supply by ensuring at all times that sufficient gas is stored to provide a national gas storage reserve covering 45 days (about 10 billion m³). The Federal Council sees two ways to achieve this:
    • National natural gas reserve outside of the the storage market
    • Direct access rights (Durchgriffskompetenzen) for gas transmission system operators via the German Electricity Act (EnWG) to ensure necessary minimum storage levels
  3. The Bundesrat asks the Federal Government to review how it can be ensured that important infrastructure facilities cannot be used for strategic purposes contrary to national interests.

The resolution expressed concern that more than twenty-five percent of the German storage capacity for natural gas are likely to be transferred to foreign investor ownership in 2014.

Source: Bundesrat

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