BRUSSELS ( Associated Press) — Natural gas storage levels in the European Union are up about 84% and were higher in December than average reserves 4-6 years ago, the European Commission said Wednesday, despite efforts by the Russians to cut supplies from Ukraine. In the middle of the war against
Fearing winter shortages, the bloc’s 27 countries started storing gas last year. Combined bookings reached 82% in September, well above the 80% target set for November. Furthermore, consumption fell by 20% from August to November due to a rise in prices.
For its part, Russia, troubled by EU sanctions regarding the war, cut off gas supplies to Europe last year. Its supply accounted for 40% of all gas imported into Europe before President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine in late February, but now accounts for only about 9%.
“The situation is very good,” Tim McPhee, a spokesman for the European Commission, told reporters. “We have a healthy level of gas storage to start this year, but we are not confident. We know this year will continue to be difficult.”
The Commission estimates the combined gas storage level to be around 84%, and the storage level in December was 13% higher than the EU average in 2016-2018. Energy prices have also declined in recent months, partly due to a colder than expected winter.
“The more we can invest in energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and the more we can advance renewable energy, the better we can reduce our dependence on gas,” Joe Affects electricity prices and contributes to global warming. McPhee said.