France started exporting natural gas to Germany for the first time this week as the two European nations try to work more closely to replace energy supplies cut by Russia.
French transmission system operator GRTgaz said Thursday initial daily deliveries of 31 GWh, or roughly 105.7 MMcf/d, are being delivered to Germany via an interconnection point at the French border village of Obergailbach. GRTgaz said maximum daily deliveries would be 100 GWh, or about 341.2 MMcf/d.
While that represents a small fraction of the 3.5 Tcf that Germany burned last year, the countries agreed in September to an energy solidarity pact. France said it would supply more natural gas, while Germany pledged to produce more electricity to export during peak hours. Prolonged maintenance at French nuclear reactors poses the risk of power shortages this winter.
Russia has cut year/year natural gas deliveries to European Union members by more than 50% in retaliation for Western sanctions against its war in Ukraine. Germany has been hit hardest as the continent’s largest gas consumer, and has historically been most dependent on inexpensive Russian pipeline gas.
Germany has no LNG import capacity, but is working to develop infrastructure. France is among Europe’s largest liquefied natural gas importers, second only to Spain. It has major facilities to offload gas, including the Dunkirk, Fos Cavaou, Fos Tonkin and Montoir terminals.
Amid record European offtake this year, French LNG imports dipped last month as gas storage inventories were nearly full in the country, according to Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.
Germany’s Federal Network Agency said Thursday gas storage is also at nearly 95% of capacity. Given the sharp drop in Russian deliveries to Europe, however, GRTgaz and German carriers worked to reverse the only existing interconnection point between the two countries at Obergailbach.
The point was originally designed to move gas from Germany into France, but it was modified to help Germany as winter approaches.
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