Facts, figures and more

How many natural gas storage facilities are there in Germany?

With about 25 storage facility operators and more than 47 underground natural gas storage facilities, Germany is one of the world’s major natural gas storage countries. The total working gas capacity of the natural gas storage facilities is about 23 billion cubic metres, corresponding to about a quarter of annual gas demand in Germany.

Natural gas storage facilities are crucially important for energy supplies in Germany. They act as a sort of buffer, smoothing out daily and seasonal demand peaks. Germany has a balanced mixture of porous rock and cavern storage facilities.

Where are the natural gas storage facilities located?

In Germany, natural gas storage facilities are located at almost 40 sites. As a general principle, storage facilities are located near to centres of consumption and major interconnection and border crossing points on the German gas transmission system so that they can be used to compensate for fluctuations in imported gas quantities. However, appropriate geological conditions are the main criterion for the siting of underground storage facilities.

How is the storage capacity of a storage facility defined?

The total capacity of an underground storage facility is the sum of the working gas and the cushion gas capacity. The cushion gas provides a buffer to maintain the minimum pressure in the facility. This gas remains permanently in the facility. The gas that is injected to storage or withdrawn from storage is referred to as “working gas”. This gas is available for use.

How is gas injected into storage?

The gas to be injected into an underground storage facility is filtered, metered and then compressed for injection at high pressure. The high pressure in the facility also allows gas to be withdrawn from storage. The gas produced from storage is heated to compensate for the cooling caused by the pressure drop as a result of withdrawal and then dehydrated in a drying tower to remove the moisture absorbed by the gas during storage. This process is necessary before the gas can be fed to a natural gas transmission system.

How much gas can be stored in an underground storage facility?

The capacity of storage facilities varies depending on the facility type and the geological conditions.

What are the obligations of storage facility operators as regards access to storage?

The obligations of storage facility operators are clearly stated in the German Energy Industry Act (EnWG). Section 28,  EnWG, requires operators to provide non-discriminatory access to storage services. In addition, operators are subject to transparency obligations with respect to storage tariffs and capacities.