Families and small businesses consumed 18% less gas in the first six months of this year, Belgian newspaper De Standaard reports.
“During the first months of 2022, we had high average temperatures for the time of year,” said gas system operator Fluxys spokesperson Laurent Remy. “That was especially the case in February. The warm weather explains most of the decrease in gas consumption among families and SMEs.”
But according to the utility company, these reductions cannot be fully explained by the warm Belgian summer. It is likely that households have already decided to turn down their thermostats by a degree or two this year.
Saving gas also extends beyond Belgian households. The consumption by industrial companies, directly connected to Belgium’s gas infrastructure, also dropped by 11% in the first half of this year. Transport of gas towards gas-fired power plants also fell by over a quarter.
While the total consumption of gas has reduced significantly, Fluxys states that it's January to June total gas transport was 38% higher than the year before. This is due to Belgium's critical position as an important transporter of energy to its neighbours. In total, 194 terawatt hours of energy passed through Belgium in the first six months of this year.
“The geopolitical situation in Ukraine has massively changed the dynamics of the gas markets and the direction of flows. The demand for natural gas to flow from Belgium to Germany and the Netherlands is particularly high,” Fluxys notes. Good news for Belgium who can receive significant transit fees from these lucrative energy flows.
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According to the EU’s Aggregated Gas Storage Inventory (AGSI) database, Belgium has filled its underground gas storage to 91% capacity, with roughly 8 TWh now in storage. Earlier in the month, Belgium withdrew large amounts of natural gas due to planned maintenance work.
Fluxys also reports that it intends to build an additional gas pipeline between the East Flemish village of Desteldonk and the Flemish Brabant municipality of Opwijk sometime in the near future, to run in parallel with existing pipelines in order to “strengthen the Zeebrugge inland axis” of gas supply.
Fluxys Belgium, like many other energy companies, is45 making record profits amid high energy prices. The Belgian subsidiary achieved a turnover of €287.4 million in the first half of the year, 4% more than the same period last year. Net profits were 7% this year at €41.1 million.