BMWi: Germany Has Largest Natural Gas Storage Capacity in the EU – Storage Sites Well Filled

Germany has the largest natural gas storage capacity in the EU and the fourth largest in the world, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy pointed out in its latest newsletter on the German Energiewende. Almost 24 billion cubic metres of natural gas can be stored to balance supply and demand.

Only the United States, Russia and the Ukraine have more storage capacity than Germany that ranks ahead of Italy and France in the EU. Capacity is still to be expanded in the coming years. On 31 December 2013 German natural gas storage capacity amounted to 23,800 million cubic metres, an increase of 5%. 51 underground storage facilities were in operation.

Natural gas storage facilities could not only balance seasonal fluctuations of demand, but played an important role for the security of supply, BMWi said. Theoretically, the total German gas storage capacity could provide a quarter of the annual demand of approximately 95 billion cubic metres, on average they could fully supply the country for 80 days. The exact duration depends on the actual storage filling levels. Presently German gas storage sites are reported as being filled to an average of 90%.

Geological conditions for underground gas storage in Germany are very favourable, BMWI explained, pointing out that one had to distinguish between pore storage facilities (Porenspeichern) and caverns (Kavernenspeicher). Pore storage sites can be found mainly in crude oil and natural gas deposits respectively porous sand stone formations in northern, eastern and southern Germany. They were usually slower to react and were used to provide seasonal baseload. Cavern storage facilities are mainly found in areas with salt domes in northern Germany. They are more powerful as regards injectability and deliverability. Hence, they are well suited to balance peak demand over the course of the day.

The BMWI press release provides links to further information on the matter like the latest monitoring report on the security of supply with natural gas.

As background, on 11 July the Federal Council (Bundesrat) asked the federal government to look into creating some form of national gas storage reserve.

Source: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

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