Germany's gas storage facilities filling up faster than planned: Econ Minister

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Germany's gas storage facilities are filling up faster than planned, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said, giving hope that Europe's biggest economy could avoid acute gas shortages this winter.

“The reservoirs are filling up faster than specified,” Habeck was quoted as saying by Der Spiegel Magazine, adding that the government goal of achieving 85 percent storage capacity by October could be reached by the beginning of September.

Germany is at phase two of a three-stage emergency plan formulated after a reduction in gas flows from Russia, its main supplier.

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Only 9.5 percent of Germany's gas consumption in August came from Russia, Spiegel reported, citing data by the BDEW power industry association. Last year, Russian gas accounted for around 55 percent of the country's total consumption.

The government had targeted gas storage levels of 75 percent by Sept. 1 but the storage levels are already at 82.2 percent, industry data from European operators group GIE showed on Sunday.

“Companies will then be able to withdraw gas from the storage facilities as planned over the winter to also supply industry and households,” Habeck said.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is also expected to flow to Germany through France after the two countries resolved organizational and technical issues to ease supplies, Spiegel reported, citing a document from the Economy Ministry.

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