The long, cold winter of 2021 and the scorching summer that followed emptied Europe’s underground gas storage facilities (UGSFs) to near zero. And now the only salvation for Europe before the heating season will be pumping the “blue fuel” via the newly built Nord Stream-2
As reported by EADaily, quoting Baltnews, the level of gas reserves in the UGS is at a critically low level, only 2.3 billion cubic meters. However, taking into account the injection rate of 20 million cubic meters, the storage facilities will only be filled to the capacity of 3 billion cubic meters by the beginning of the heating season. By comparison, at the same time last year, there were 11.2 billion cubic metres of natural gas in the storage facilities.
The additional capacities provided by the NSP2 are very useful here, due to which 14 billion cubic meters can be additionally supplied to Europe from October to April. According to Alexei Grivach, deputy director of the National Energy Security Fund (FNEB), this is the only way to guarantee Europeans a “warm” winter.
“Storage facilities are being filled precisely to ensure additional demand during the heating season, when transport capacities are insufficient. Given the completion of Nord Stream 2, this additional demand can easily be met by deliveries through the pipe. If there are no artificial restrictions for its operation”, – the expert pointed out.
An important nuance: “If there are no artificial restrictions for its work,” at the same time not so long ago the highest Land Court in Düsseldorf did not take Nord Stream 2 out of the European gas directive. This means that Gazprom, as the owner of both the gas and the pipeline, will only be able to fill half of it. The rest of the capacity will have to be made available to third-party operators, which are simply not available on the route.
According to experts, half of the possible volume will not be enough, so it turns out that the Europeans have “shot themselves in the foot”. Russian gas is already trading above 700 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters on the exchange. EU, playing on its Russophobia, may cause the exorbitant price to go even higher, and gas will not be enough anyway. It is doubtful that such a policy by Brussels (and the legs of it come from there) will make the average European burgher happy.