The Federal Network Agency has been supervising the largest German gas storage facility in Rehden near Diepholz since April. For the president of the agency, this memory is his biggest problem child.

The head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, has asked private households and industry to use gas sparingly.

Every cubic meter of gas saved helps to increase the security of supply in Germany in view of the uncertain supply prospects in the coming months, said Müller on Wednesday during a visit to the site of Germany’s largest natural gas storage facility in Rehden near Diepholz in Lower Saxony. “We appeal to all private households to start thinking about where you can save gas yourself in the fall.”

Müller pointed to the goal set out in the Gas Storage Act of filling 80 percent of the gas storage facilities in Germany by October 1st and 90 percent by November 1st. It is not yet clear whether the goal will be achieved. “You might as well ask me about the weather forecast for the fall,” he said. There are still many imponderables. In addition to the question of whether Russia will send gas to Germany again after maintenance work on the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline is completed at the end of July, there is also the question of whether Norway can deliver gas in the agreed quantity in view of the strikes. The question of whether there will be a severe or mild winter also plays an important role.

There is still no gas in the storage tanks

The gas storage facilities in Germany are currently almost 63 percent full, said Müller. The biggest problem child is the gas storage facility in Rehden, which is not even filled to a quarter of its capacity. “Here lies a challenge for all of us,” he said. However, the filling level is now significantly higher than it was just a few weeks ago.

But it’s not just the storage facility in Rehden that worries him. He also referred to the gas storage facility in Wolfersberg, Bavaria, and Austrian gas storage facilities, which also contribute to the supply in Germany. “In this respect, there is still something ahead of us to achieve 80 or 90 percent filling by November 1st.”

LNG terminals should make a decisive contribution

Müller emphasized that the decisive factor for the question of further gas supply is whether one or even two LNG terminals on the North Sea coast will be operational by the end of the year, via which liquefied natural gas can be landed.

The fact that the Federal Network Agency took over supervision of parts of the German gas supply previously managed by Russia in April was a prerequisite for the storage facility in Rehden, for example, to remain connected to the grid without interruption, stressed Müller. Employees with Russian passports have also campaigned for gas supplies in Germany in recent weeks. He therefore wanted to thank these employees with the visit.

The Russian energy giant Gazprom announced on April 1 that it had given up its German subsidiary Gazprom Germania. This operates, among other things, the gas storage facility in Rehden via the subsidiary Astora. With a working gas capacity of around four billion cubic meters, Rehden has around one-fifth of all gas storage facilities in Germany.