Belgium risks gas shortage during severe winter, report says – De Tijd

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Dec 9 (Reuters) – Belgium’s natural gas supply could be at risk this winter in the event of a cold wave, Belgian newspaper De Tijd reported on Friday citing a leaked government-ordered report.

Belgium currently imports gas from the United Kingdom, but the report warns that if temperatures in western Europe drop below 0°C this winter, the UK will need all available gas.

The report was made by Belgian grid operator Elia, gas pipeline operator Fluxys Belgium and the Belgian energy administration who were not available for comment.

Belgium, whose pipelines supply gas to Germany and the Netherlands, then risks not having enough gas surplus to get through winter.

However, a spokesperson for energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten told Reuters “there is no supply risk” in Belgium. “Belgium has never had so much gas in stock as it has now,” he said.

Prime minister Alexander De Croo and Van der Straeten also told lawmakers on Thursday that Belgium would not experience black-outs or heating problems.

The nation of 11 million is a natural gas hub, with around 10% of total Russian LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports using trans-shipment services at the port of Zeebrugge. In cold weather, underground gas storage capacity of 9 terawatt-hours is also available at Loenhout, near Antwerp.

(Reporting by Charlotte Van Campenhout, editing by Marine Strauss, Kirsten Donovan)

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