New gas storage law on filling requirements passed the German Bundestag
On March 25, the German Bundestag passed the Gas Storage Fill Level Act. In Austria the parliament also has approved the introduction of national strategic gas storage reserve. On European level an amendment of the Gas Security of Supply Regulation is under preparation.
According to the new law, storage customers have to comply with filling level requirements in Germany in the future. If the requirements are not fulfilled, booked storage capacities are withdrawn . In detail: According to Section 35b (1) EnWG, the operator of a gas storage facility must include contractual regulations that define the respective framework conditions for achieving certain filling level specifications. The fill levels are 80 percent on October 1, 90 percent on November 1, and 40 percent on February 1. According to Section 35b (4) EnWG, operators of gas storage facilities must provide proof of compliance with the requirements. In addition, there must also be evidence of a filling level as of August 1 that "does not endanger" the achievement of the above filling level specifications. In addition to the filling level specifications, gas storage operators must include provisions in the storage usage contracts pursuant to Section 35b (6) EnWG which entitle them to make storage capacities not used by storage users available to the market area manager. The storage user remains obliged to pay the storage fees, with the exception of the variable fees for injection and withdrawal. According to Section 118 (36) EnWG, the contractual provisions after July 14, 2022 also apply to existing contracts that were concluded before the law came into force. If a storage user does not agree to the contractual changes, the operator can terminate the contract without notice.
According to Section 35c EnWG, the market area manager has strategic options for the provision of gas (gas -Options) to a reasonable extent. If the gas options are not sufficient, the market area manager, with the approval of the BMWK and in agreement with the BNetzA, uses additional, including short-term, tenders for gas options or physically acquires gas himself for storage in the storage capacities made available. If the capacities provided are not sufficient to meet the filling level specifications, the market area manager can book the required storage capacities himself. This is based on the "lowest average" storage fee for the last three storage years for the respective gas storage facility. The new regulations apply until April 1, 2025.
The new law poses enormous challenges for the storage business. Uniper Energy Storage GmbH has already stated to examine the contractual and commercial effects and adjustments.
The Austrian law to set up a strategic reserve passed the parliament March 25. The market area manager (AGGM) is legally obliged to procure gas quantities in a market-based, transparent, non-discriminatory manner and as cost-effectively as possible through public tenders in order to ensure an appropriate supply of end customers. The gas quantities are to be purchased by AGGM in its own name and on its own account and stored in storage facilities connected to the Austrian grid. The extent of the obligation is the total consumption of gas in the last available January, which was 12.6 TWh in January 2022.
More Information you can find here (German):
Deutscher Bundestag beschließt Füllstandsvorgaben für Gasspeicheranlagen
515/BNR (XXVII. GP) - Gaswirtschaftsgesetz 2011 (GWG 2011) | Parlament Österreich
Gasspeichergesetz stellt Speicherbranche vor enorme Herausforderungen - INES Initiative Energien Speichern