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German regulator says gas situation 'less tense'

Bundesnetzagentur President Klaus Mueller in Bonn

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's gas supply situation is "less tense" now than it was at the beginning of winter, Germany's Federal Network Agency said on Thursday, reflecting mild temperatures and full storage levels that are supporting Europe's top economy.

Considerably less gas was used in the 52nd calendar week of 2022 than in previous years, agency chief Klaus Mueller wrote on Twitter ahead of the announcement. Consumption was down 30% from the average over the past four years.

"Overall, the Federal Network Agency assesses the situation as less tense than at the beginning of the winter. A gas shortage this winter is becoming increasingly unlikely," it said on Thursday in its daily report.

"However, a deterioration of the situation still cannot be ruled out. Economical gas consumption remains important."

The comments provide some relief following months of uncertainty for German industry, which has been hit by a sudden stop of Russian gas supplies and higher energy prices.

Storage levels currently stand at 90.72%, way above the 40% threshold that Mueller has said would be critical at the start of February.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Rachel More; Editing by Paul Carrel)