LNG News Editor:
A Dutch parliamentary committee has been told that natural gas storage levels in the Netherlands were well short of capacity and the situation is a matter of concern, though not considered a crisis.
Britta van Boven, a board member at Gasunie, the Dutch gas network operator and part owner of the Gate LNG importer terminal in Rotterdam, said storage should ideally be higher to cater for a harsh winter, but high prices had resulted in the current reduced levels.
“Storage levels are around 60 percent of capacity now, which is slightly concerning as they still need to be full enough at the end of the winter to cover cold days,” explained Van Boven.
The Government inquiry comes as the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) benchmark price, also indicating LNG values, reached on all-time record on October 6 of the equivalent of $39.40 per million British thermal units.
The soaring natural gas prices in the Netherlands and throughout the European Union are leading to problems in industries which use a lot of gas and are impacting costs too for households.
Since the decision to phase out the Dutch Groningen natural gas fields because of concerns over occasional earth tremors, the Netherlands has become much more dependent on imports of LNG and pipeline natural gas.
The Dutch energy market was liberalized in 2004 and there are now more than 25 suppliers licensed to offer natural gas and electricity supplies to households and businesses. A number of EU leaders have criticised the European Commission for not responding quickly enough, warning that soaring prices could imperil the continent’s economic recovery and risks potential social unrest.
The 27 EU members states held a meeting in Slovenia and were being urged by several states to mitigate the impact of the natural gas and electricity price increases to “avoid threatening the EU economic recovery from Covid-19 and lessening the risks of potential social unrest” in member counties.