November 13, 2019

Spotlight on Cavern Closure: The European Approach to a Pressing Issue in the Underground Gas Storage Market

Martin Hamer and Johann-Frederik Schuldt

The underground gas storage (UGS) industry is an increasingly important industry sector in Europe. The total working volume of stored gas within the European Union (EU) in the year 2018 amounted to approximately 1,131 terawatt hours (TWh). European Commission, DG Energy, 11 Quarterly Report––Energy on European Gas Markets 16 (2018) [hereinafter European Commission, Quarterly Report]. Among the EU Member States, Germany has the largest working gas volume with 232.74 TWh. Jerzy Stopa & Piotr Kosowski, Underground Gas Storage in Europe–– Energy Safety and Its Cost (July 2018) [hereinafter Stopa & Kosowski, Underground Gas Storage]. Other critical UGS countries in the EU are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Austria, and France. The main purpose of UGS facilities is to provide a quantity of gas that can be used to satisfy daily or seasonal peaks in consumption. In this sense, UGS facilities have a market-stabilizing function.

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