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Experts say Europe is ending the heating season with a UGS half full

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Moscow, February 16 – The European Union is likely to end the heating season with Underground Gas Stores (UGS) almost half full, and by the end of March their occupancy may reach 50-55%, deputy director of energy at the Institute of Energy and Finance (IEF) Alexei Belogoriev told the News Agency.

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“By the end of the warm-up period (conditionally by March 31), 44% to 60% of reserves will remain at EU UGS facilities, depending on cloud intensity in the remaining month and a half. The potential range now looks at 50-55% compared to 26.3% last year. 2022″.
Gas price ceiling in pipelines
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According to the Association of Gas Infrastructure Operators in Europe (Gas Infrastructure Europe, GIE), at the end of the gas day on February 13 (it ended at 8.00 Moscow time on February 14), European UGS facilities were empty by 0.45 percentage points, to 65.66%.
Belogorev explains that Europe’s total gas imports in January decreased by about 21% compared to 2022 levels. At the same time, both pipeline shipments from Norway and Algeria and Russian exports fell compared to December, falling by 33.6%. However, apparently, the decline in gas demand in the European Union due to abnormally hot weather was also close, he notes.
At the same time, it is important that Europe’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies remain stable and show no signs of declining yet, while UGS inventories remain at historical record levels, Belogorev said.
“If the supply of gas remains at the current level, and the demand is at least 10% lower than the average long-term values ​​​​for the period 2017-2021 (according to the results of January-November 2022, the decrease was 10.9%), the EU countries will be able to raise the level of reserves of UGS facilities by the next warm-up period to the target level of 90%, ”the expert believes.

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