Shortage Fears Return As Germany Burns Through Gas Reserves

The German media have become increasingly concerned about possible gas shortages following a period of silence caused by an unusually warm autumn and early winter. In response to a cold snap that has hit northern Europe, the country has reportedly consumed much more of its gas reserves than expected.

Experts have long warned about the potential for widespread energy shortages in Germany caused by the loss of its Russian gas imports. However, some officials have argued that the country will be able to escape this winter if it cuts its consumption by 20%.

While initial optimism hinted that such targets could be met, statistics show that Germany has fallen short. Klaus Müller, head of Germany’s Federal Network Agency, says the country hasn’t met those targets. “Most recently, we were only five percent below the previous year’s consumption instead of 20 percent,” the official said.

Müller said Germany should still be able to get through winter without any shortages despite such a failure. However, he warned that savings could not be made in the coming months if the weather and gas reserves decline further.

“We don’t have to ring the alarm after two or three weeks like now. But it must not go on like this for the whole of January and February,” he remarked.“January and February are traditionally much colder than December,” he continued, warning that Germany may end up burning more gas than it does right now.

According to a report on Monday, Germany has about 88% of its gas left, burning through its supply rapidly since the winter cold snap started. Gas stocks were at 99% only a few weeks ago.

In light of such rapid increases in consumption, Müller repeatedly advised people to save gas wherever possible. He stressed that radiators could be turned off in some areas of the house and that people should not heat their homes fully to stay warm.

While Muller admitted it’s challenging to go without heat, he emphasized that if Germany doesn’t save gas this winter, German energy supplies could be at risk immediately. There’s also a longer-term risk next year. EU gas storage is threatened because it’s unclear if they can refill it without Russian fuel.