French Gas Stockpiles Could Be Nearly Depleted At End of Winter
(Bloomberg) -- French gas stockpiles could be nearly depleted at the end of winter, and operators must keep importing the fuel to meet demand in case of a cold snap, the head of the country’s main gas-transmission network said.
“We’ll probably be close to zero toward the end of March, and we remain vigilant on that topic,” GRTgaz chief Thierry Trouve said in a presentation in Paris Thursday.
France’s stockpiles were about 34% full as of Feb. 1, below the five-year average of 42%, according to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe. Inventories are now at the lowest seasonal level since 2018, when the country ended the heating season with storage at a record-low of just 3%. Back then, Europe was hit by an extreme cold snap known as the Beast from the East.
Mild weather is expected to continue across much of Europe this month, but some concerns remain after rebounding global demand, and limited Russian shipments to Europe boosted prices to records last year. The situation in France has been exacerbated by a lower-than-usual availability of Electricite de France SA’s nuclear plants, boosting the use of gas and other energies to generate power in the midst of winter.
France will be able to cope with a “late” cold snap assuming that gas continues to arrive from Norway and from other nations through liquefied natural gas terminals to make up from fewer supplies coming “from the East,” Trouve said. Provisional schedules of LNG terminal operators remain “well-filled” for February and March, he said.
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