BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is rebuilding gas stocks faster than expected despite drastic Russian supply cuts and is set to hit an October target early, the government said on Sunday.
Europe’s biggest economy is heavily dependent on Russian gas and has rushed to bolster its reserves ahead of winter after deliveries from Russia plummeted following the outbreak of war in Ukraine.
Last week, Germany’s energy regulator, the Federal Grid Agency, said the country was unlikely to meet its targets.
But the government said energy-saving measures in recent weeks and massive purchases of gas from other suppliers had resulted in “significant progress”.
“Despite the difficult circumstances (…) the reserves are filling up faster than expected,” Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said in a statement.
The target of reaching 85% of gas storage capacity by October “should be achieved by early September”, with current levels of 82%, his ministry added.
Gas flows from the main pipeline, Nord Stream, have fallen by 20% as the EU accuses Moscow of using the energy as a weapon in its standoff with the West over Ukraine.
To avoid the risk of energy shortages, Berlin set a series of targets in July for gas stocks to reach 95% of their capacity by November.
The government has put in place measures allowing more coal-based energy and reducing energy consumption in public buildings.
It has also spent 1.5 billion euros ($1.5 billion) to buy liquefied natural gas, with Qatar and the United States being the main suppliers, and five new LNG terminals are planned to import it by Sea route.