Dutch natural gas storage facilities 50% filled for winter

·1 min read

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch natural gas storage facilities have been filled to 50% of their capacity, data from Gas Infrastructure Europe showed on Saturday, about two months earlier than in 2021 and helping prepare for peak winter demand.

Filling accelerated in May when the Dutch government offered a 400 million euro ($422 million) subsidy for gas companies to fill a storage facility at Bergermeer during the summer filling season, which runs from April 1 to Oct. 1.

It also expects to pay 6.5 billion euros for filling the storage at Norg, one of the country's other main facilities, through 2023.

The government is targeting having storages filled on average to 80% by winter, in line with provisional European targets.

The 4.1 billion cubic meter (bcm) Taqa-operated site at Bergermeer, in which Russia's Gazprom owns rights to 40% of capacity, is currently just 35% filled. In 2021 Gazprom did not make use of the Bergermeer site.

The Dutch government is targeting filling Bergermeer to 68% by winter - including part of Gazprom's capacity - under a "use it or lose it" clause.

To reach 80% on average for all Dutch storage facilities, other sites will need to be filled to capacity.

Large sites operated by NAM, a joint venture between Shell and Exxon, which include big storages sites at Norg and Grijpskerk, are on average currently 58% filled.

This week the Dutch government activated the first phase of an energy crisis plan, removing caps on production at coal plants in order to conserve gas following moves by Gazprom to reduce delivery to Europe.

($1 = 0.9475 euros)

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by David Holmes)

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