In the meeting of the German Bundesrat (upper house) today, Bavaria made a proposal in favour of creating a state natural gas reserve for Germany. In response, Hildegard Müller, Chairwoman of the BDEW management board said the following:
"Over the past years, the German gas industry, through private business initia-tive, has amassed the fourth largest natural gas storage capacity in the world. In the 51 storage facilities involved, there is the capacity to store approximately 24 billion kilowatt hours of energy and thus around a quarter of the total annual gas requirements for Germany. Further storage facilities are currently under construction or in the planning phase.
The gas industries in the EU member states are structured in vastly different ways. In EU states with a low degree of diversity of supply or with low storage capacity, a state reserve could make sense. However, in Germany it would be counterproductive: a state reserve would be a massive interference in the existing market and would weaken functioning market-based structures instead of strengthening them.
Germany possesses a very well developed gas infrastructure and a number of varied sources of supply. In this way, even the peak demand of German end consumers can be covered, a situation which has occurred only once in the last 20 years. Natural gas companies provide a secure and reliable supply of gas to their customers through a variety of means. Storage facilities represent just one - albeit an important one - instrument amongst others. The gas industry has four pillars on which its security of supply is based: diversified import sources and transport channels, liquid trading markets, high storage capacities and domestic natural gas production. This system has proven itself in Germany over several decades.
"The BDEW is convinced that a secure natural gas supply in Europe can be achieved, in particular, through a further interconnection of European natural gas markets. To this end, the third EU internal market packet, which contains respective regulations regarding EU natural gas markets, must be properly implemented by all member states. In this context, the expansion of the energy infrastructure, where it is needed for a functioning internal market, plays a vital role. This is an essential requirement for realising the European internal market and further strengthening the security of supply in Europe."