German gas storage facility down until Friday, no indication of sabotage -LBEG

Astora natural gas depot in Rehden

By Vera Eckert

BERLIN/FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Germany's largest gas storage facility in Rehden has been taken out of operation until 1700 GMT on Friday for safety reasons after a high-pressure flaring on Tuesday, the LBEG mining authority supervising it said.

LBEG added that there was no indication of an act of sabotage.

Rehden's operator, storage company Astora, which is part of the Sefe Group, said security of supply is not affected and that it is working with authorities to establish what caused the incident. Rehden has 4 billion cubic meters capacity compared with up to 100 bcm of German annual gas usage.

An LBEG spokesperson said on Wednesday that current assumptions were for a restart on Friday.

Gas markets are sensitive to news of possible disruptions to already tight supply since Russian flows to western Europe slowed sharply in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

Unexplained blasts last summer rendered the Nord Stream gas pipelines between Russia and Germany unusable but a scramble to fill storage ahead of what has been a mild winter in Europe means there is currently an abundance of gas.

The LBEG spokesperson in the northern state of Lower Saxony's capital Hanover said that only the feed-in at Rehden was temporarily halted with withdrawals theoretically possible.

However, none were planned or underway when the disruption occurred, meaning there was no impact on supply, he said.

Rehden had been 90.3% full before the incident, the website of industry group Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) showed.

A company spokesperson for Astora said the market would be informed as soon as further details were available.

There was, for now, no fixed timing for further notifications, she said.

A team of experts including LBEG is looking into the incident, which took place at a flare stack at an overground converter station. Such events are unusual but not unknown.

(Reporting by Vera Eckert, writing by Rachel More and Miranda Murray; editing by Matthias Williams, Kirsten Donovan)