The European Union’s gas storage facilities are now almost 99 percent full, surpassing Brussels’ target of 90 percent of storage capacity by November and encouraging European traders to turn to Ukraine for additional chambers, the Financial Times reported.
The figures indicate that the EU has stored far more gas to date this year than some had feared in the aftermath of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, because of continued imports of liquefied natural gas and reduced demand.
While the EU is now less vulnerable to an energy shock, there is the risk that the continent will not have all the energy it needs for the coming winter.
"With EU storage almost at capacity, companies are increasingly turning to Ukraine, home to Europe’s largest tanks, to store their reserves, pushing the amount of natural gas held in the country to its highest level since Russia’s invasion last year", the FT reported.
Consequently, EU companies are increasingly turning to Ukraine to store their gas reserves.
According to Ukrainian energy ministry data, natural gas reserves in Ukrainian underground storage facilities have reached 16.02bcm (billion cubic metres), 1.3 billion more than was provided for by the Ukrainian government.
Naftogaz, the Ukrainian state energy company, says that the chambers are located mostly deep underground in western Ukraine, far from the front line, and currently hold more than 2 bcm metres of EU-owned gas.
Naftogaz has offered more than 10 bcm of gas to foreign customers, a third of the national capacity.
Despite record-high gas reserves in Europe and sufficient spare capacity to pump gas into Ukrainian UGS facilities, foreign companies reduced gas pumping to Ukraine in October, primarily due to high gas prices in Europe.
Analysts believe that additional gas reserves may protect Ukraine from further significant increases in gas prices in Europe. Amid forecasts of warming in the coming weeks, they fell by 10 percent.