Reduction of gas stocks in France, usual “breathing” maneuver

The gas reserves, historically high, will be lowered, for technical reasons, while, moreover, the risks of shortages within the framework of the Russian-Ukrainian war move away.

by Marjorie Cessac

It is to lose his Latin there. For months, they had to be completed at all costs, as soon as possible, in order to overcome the stop of the Russian gas supply. Today, while this mission is accomplished, that underground stocks of French gas are around 79 % (and 81 % in Europe), sector experts announce that they will now have to … lower these levels . And this, in order to meet regulatory requirements and preserve the efficiency of their storage.

This maneuver in no way surprises gas, broken to carry out this procedure every year, called “sub-handling”, especially between January and March. “This is part of the normal storage life,” said Thierry Found, director general of the GRTGaz transport network manager, who exhibited, Wednesday, January 18, the prospects for the current winter. “Some storage, in this case aquifer training, complicated to exploit, require this kind of” breathing “in order to be able to keep their performance for winters to come,” he detailed.

At historically high levels, French reserves could, according to a spokesperson for Storengy, the Engie subsidiary expert in storage, see their rates go around 35 % and 40 %, by the end From this winter, for the aquifers, which represent three-quarters of the French reserves. Speeding, storage in saline layers should be maintained at their high levels, at almost 80 %.

“have transit to neighboring countries”

What will happen to this gas if it cannot be consumed in full? “We are not going to burn him, nor put him in huge bottles of butagaz”, quips an expert, recalling that winter is far from over. In addition, imports may have to decrease. “Senders have the possibility of reducing ships arrivals, which can be re-routed to other destinations,” explains Thierry Found.

Another option: “Maintain deliveries and have them transit to neighboring countries to contribute to their supply. It is the role of” gateway “that France [with Spain in particular] took the ‘Occasion of the Russian crisis [following Ukraine’s invasion in late February 2022], “he added. After reaching record levels, in November and December 2022, deliveries of liquefied natural gas, which represents 75 % of gas consumption in France on January 15, have already started with a withdrawal in 2023.

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/Media reports cited above.