Czech Republic meets EU gas savings target ahead of schedule with the help of the weather

The Czech Republic saved around 850 million cubic meters of gas in the current heating season compared to last year. It has thus met the EU’s target of reducing consumption by at least 15 percent this winter. This was announced on Monday by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT).

Gas stocks are now double compared to last year, contributing to a drop in energy prices on the market. According to analysts, the warm weather has helped to save money, while Czechs have also saved money due to high energy prices.

The commitment to reduce gas consumption was approved by EU energy ministers last July. The agreement envisaged savings of at least 15 percent of consumption from October 2022 to March this year compared to the previous heating season. For the Czech Republic, this meant an obligation to save at least 800 million cubic meters of gas, which the ministry said was achieved in mid-January.

“What I have been saying since last spring is confirmed. Energy savings are a very effective and cheap tool for strengthening energy security,” said Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Síkela (for STAN), who praised consumers’ approach.

“Thanks to this, domestic gas reserves are more than double compared to last year,” the minister said. According to the ministry’s data released Monday, domestic storage tanks are 80 percent full, with around 2,750 million cubic meters of gas.

More than 7.5 billion cubic meters of gas were consumed in the Czech Republic last year. This is down by about a fifth year-on-year, or about 1.9 billion cubic meters. “To give you an idea, this roughly corresponds to the consumption of the entire country in two winter months,” calculated René Neděla, deputy chief director of energy and nuclear resources.

He added that consumption had decreased significantly during the current heating season. From October to mid-January, it fell by more than 23 percent year-on-year. Thus, according to the ministry, the savings from consumption compared to last year currently amount to about 850 million cubic meters.

According to XTB analyst Tomáš Cverna, the high gas savings can be attributed to the warm weather. He recalled, for example, the average temperatures last October, which were 2.5 degrees higher than average.

“This temperature trend has been accompanied by the cheapening of the natural gas contract on the TTF exchange, which has fallen by less than seven percent since the beginning of the year. Long-term weather forecasts say February will be average to above average in temperature, which may contribute to further savings. We should be able to get through this winter with our supplies and if weather forecasts are met without major complications,” Cverna said. Other analysts in recent days have also pointed to the effect of high energy prices, which are forcing many customers to cut back.

 However, according to Síkela, the importance of saving on consumption does not end with meeting the target. “Saving gas helps us achieve record levels of gas reserves, strengthening our resilience to potential crises and, therefore, our energy security. In addition, every cubic meter of gas saved will help us prepare for the next heating season. This will reduce the pressure to build up gas stocks quickly and thus reduce the upward pressure on prices,” Síkela added.