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Germany Slashed Natural Gas Imports by 33% in 2023

Germany imported the equivalent of 968 terawatt hours (TWh) of natural gas in 2023, down by 32.6% from the 1.437 TWh imports in 2022, as consumption also dropped, the country’s energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur said on Thursday.  

Norway was Germany’s top natural gas supplier last year, delivering as much as 43% of the imported gas, followed by the Netherlands with 26% and Belgium, 22%, the Federal Network Agency Bundesnetzagentur said. 

Germany’s now four operational LNG import terminals – started up between December 2022 and December 2023 – imported 7% of all natural gas imports into the country last year. 

Germany also continued to save natural gas in 2023, the regulator noted. Last year, gas consumption dropped by 5% compared to 2022, while compared to the average consumption in the period 2018 to 2021, gas demand in Europe’s biggest economy fell by 17.5% last year. Households consumed 16.4% less gas in 2023 compared to the 2018-2021 period, while industry consumption was 18.3% lower, according to the data the regulator released today.

Currently, Germany’s gas storage facilities are 91% full, according to Bundesnetzagentur. 

“This is a very good basis for the remaining winter months,” said the regulator, but added that filling the gas storage facilities would remain a challenge in 2024 due to the ongoing uncertainties in German gas supply.  

Germany and Europe are now less concerned about gas shortages, but regulators, companies, and governments continue to warn that European gas supply continues to be exposed to potential shocks.  

Despite reducing significantly its dependence on Russian gas, Europe remains exposed to natural gas supply and price shocks as it lacks any buffers in the system, the CEO of Germany’s top utility, RWE, told the Financial Times in comments published last month. 

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“But we are not where we need to be because we shouldn’t have an energy supply system which is without any margin or buffer,” RWE’s chief executive Markus Krebber told FT

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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