Europe's close to hitting its natural gas storage goals for the winter — 2 months early, despite Russia's squeeze
- The European Union is set to meet its winter natural gas storage goals two months early, according to inventory data.
- Russia has choked off the continent's natural energy supply by cutting off key pipelines to hit back against western sanctions.
Europe is close to hitting its targets for stockpiling natural gas ahead of winter, with countries two months ahead of schedule on storage as they scramble to replace Russian supplies.
Inventory data shows the European Union had filled up its winter reserves to 79.94% as of Sunday, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe. That's just shy of its goal of 80% by November 1.
The EU bolstered its gas storage rules in June. Since then, President Vladimir Putin's regime has increasingly choked off pipeline gas deliveries, stoking an energy crisis on the continent in apparent retaliation against Western sanctions.
Russia's state-run energy giant Gazprom slashed the capacity of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to just 20% in July, and said it intends to shut it down entirely for three days starting Wednesday.
France has filled over 90% of its gas reserves, according to GIE data, while Germany is under 2 percentage points shy of the 85% storage target it's aiming to hit by October.
The eastern European countries Bulgaria, Hungary, and Latvia are the three EU members furthest away from the trading bloc's 80% storage goal, according to GIE.
Natural gas prices are easing as the EU nears its storage target, and Dutch TTF futures have fallen around 20% in the past two days. But the benchmark has still soared over 200% since June 1 as Russia slashes its deliveries.
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