There is concern in Europe as to whether there will be enough gas to survive the winter. Belgium has reserves to cover its own needs for 12 days. It is therefore more dependent on constant supply than neighbouring Germany, the Netherlands and France.
Belgian gas reserves are at a high level, assured Energy minister Tinne van Der Straeten (Groen) at the start of the new heating season at the beginning of October. In Belgium, energy companies have until 1 November to fill at least 90 percent of their reserved storage capacity. That obligation should ensure that there is enough gas to cover the winter. Enquiry with the Fluxys gas system operator shows that the 90 percent cape was reached on Wednesday morning. ’ There is really no reason to worry about the gas reserves’, says spokesperson Laurent Remy.
The European gas markets think otherwise. The Dutch reference price TTF for natural gas is at 94 euros per megawatt hour, a fivefold increase since the beginning of this year. A total panic broke out among traders last week when an unprecedented record of more than 160 euros per megawatt hour was hit. Only after Russian president Vladimir Putin indicated that he could send more gas to Europe did the market calm down somewhat.
The nervousness is due to the exceptionally low gas reserves in Europe. At the beginning of this year, Europe suffered a late winter prick. As a result, the gas reserves, which are gradually replenished from May onwards, began to lag behind the filling season. At the same time, a cold winter and a buoyant economy led to a surge in gas demand in Asia, leaving LNG ships with liquefied natural gas out of Europe. In the summer, when installations in Norway and Russia fell out due to maintenance and incidents, the fear of scarcity increased rapidly. Gas prices exploded.