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Full gas storage in France, a guarantee of a quiet winter?

Construction of a new LNG terminal close to Le Havre, aiming to scale back our vitality consumption by 10% inside two years… In this new geopolitical context of the warfare in Ukraine, France has activated two levers to keep away from gas shortages in the approaching winter. A 3rd has been added: maxing out our gas storage capability. “We are aiming for 100% by the start of the autumn”, Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne launched on June 23 throughout a go to to the National Gas Control Center in Ile-de-France.

We are there in the present day, Wednesday, October fifth. After Belgium and Portugal, France grew to become the third European nation whose gas storage is 100% full, the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) introduced in a press launch, together with Storenji and Teregao, which function storage websites in France. They are eleven in quantity, all underground cavities with a whole capability of 130 terawatt-hours (TWh).

Very helpful reserve

This covers a third of our annual gas consumption. Even extra if we glance solely on the gas winter, between November 1 and April 30, when our gas consumption is highest and when shares are used up. “Almost 300 TWh have been consumed in these 5 months in France”, famous Estebaliz González Ferrer, technique and business director of Storenzi. “Gas storage contributes greater than 50% of our day by day demand in the course of the chilly season*”, he provides.

This exhibits the strategic significance of these reserves, throughout a “traditional” winter, however extra so for individuals who come. Because it wanted to do with out Russian gas which represented about 17% of French imports earlier than the beginning of the warfare. This is just not the primary time that we’ve entered the winter with nearly full reserves. “This has already been the case in latest years with admission ranges of over 90% in mid-October”, famous Gilles Doyhambour, Director of Trade and Control at Terrega. “The novelty this 12 months is that we reached this excessive stage a lot sooner than standard,” he continued. It could be very optimistic to be reassured concerning the state of our inventory earlier than winter. »

But that does not save us from a tough winter

So what’s a little extra calm… However, neither Estebaliz González Ferrer nor Gilles Doihambur instructed us they have been protected from a tough winter. None apart from Anna Crety, Professor of Economics and Director of the Climate Economics Chair at Paris-Dauphin University. “These shares aren’t emergency reserves that we are going to solely draw on if we actually want them,” he says. We know that we’ve to make use of them, not just for French wants, but additionally, maybe, for our European neighbors in the identify of the precept of European integration. »

In different phrases, these 100% crammed storages is not going to be thought of as “bonus”. GRT-Gaz, France’s fundamental gas transporter, and Teréga (which transports it), are relying on it in their outlook for this winter, revealed on 14 September. Whether winters are very chilly or common, with no marked chilly spells*, all gas provide sources have to be built-in, the 2 organizations concluded. There are three: interconnection with pipelines of neighboring international locations, LNG terminals (delivery of liquefied pure gas) and at last storage.

Save for saving as a lot as attainable

The entire problem then, underlines Anna Kreti, is to make use of this 130 TWH as finely as attainable, “with as a lot help as attainable from the opposite two sources of provide”. With this drawback, particular to gas, “that we can’t reserve as simply as with oil”, continues the professor of economics. Pressing questions, explains Gilles Doyhamboure. “The extra these reserves are depleted, the extra the stress drops and the withdrawal pressure decreases, which then reduces the power we’ve to make use of this useful resource shortly, he famous.

It’s not a stretch, particularly if we expertise a late chilly spell subsequent 12 months, as is just not unusual in April, and gas storage is already properly underway. So it’s essential to retailer as a lot inventory as attainable. It would not rely a lot on Storengi and Terega. “It is the gas suppliers – who additionally fill these shares – who determine after they deliver these shares”, recalled Gilles Dohambor and Estebaliz González Ferrer. The drawback, the latter specifies, is that these suppliers might haven’t any selection however to make use of up these shares in a short time, “in the occasion of an preliminary chilly spell for which different sources of provide will now not be adequate to fulfill gas demand .

Storengi and Terega reiterated your complete name this Wednesday: regardless of Storengi being 100% full, “in no way ought to we chill out our restraint efforts”, responded Pierre Chambon, managing director of Storengi France. Elizabeth Bourne ought to converse once more this Thursday morning, presenting the vitality moderation plan the federal government is creating from this summer season.

* For the chilly snap on January 5 and 6, 2021, 66% of the gas got here from storage, explains Storenji. The latter offered 40% extra energy than the French nuclear fleet in the present day.

**GRT Gaz and Terega labored in two eventualities. An common winter with no marked chilly spells exhibits a globally balanced system with out gas shortages. “However, there may be little room for maneuver, particularly on peak consumption days”, the 2 gas transport operators famous. In the second, very chilly winter, “the winter deficit can attain 16 TWh, representing 5% of the winter consumption, a stage that may be absorbed by reaching the moderation targets set by the general public authorities.

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