Russian gas flows to Europe fall short, threaten storage buildup -Breaking
LONDON, (Reuters) – Russian gas flow to Europe was cut again Friday by a heat wave that gripped its southern part. The rise in benchmark prices coincides with concerns that Europe may not have enough storage to meet winter’s demands.
Italy and Slovakia were reported to have received less than half the normal volumes via the Nordstream 1 pipeline. It crosses the Baltic Sea to Germany from Russia, and represents around 40% of Russian pipeline flows into the European Union.
France claimed it had stopped receiving Russian gas from Germany in June 15th. Uniper in Germany reported it was receiving 60% less from Russia than originally agreed, but that it could still fill the gaps elsewhere.
Germany’s energy regulator called the situation “tense” however stated that German gas supplies are stable right now.
The EU’s dependence on Russian gas has caused major problems for its members. Moscow may cut off supplies in retaliation for economic sanctions that were imposed upon it after the invasion of Ukraine.
Unusually warm heat waves in France and Spain caused concern. More gas was bought as electricity demand soared.
By 1318 GMT, July’s wholesale Dutch gas prices were up 6%, which is the European benchmark. Power supply contract prices also increased across Europe. [EL/DE] [NG/EU]
After suffering a deficit the past two days Eni of Italy stated that it will receive just half the amount of Russian Gazprom’s 63 Million cubic metres per Day (MCX:).
Mario Draghi from Italy, the Prime Minister, visited Ukraine with French, German and German counterparts. They accused Moscow, of using gas supplies to fuel political agendas.
Russia says the pipeline has been delivering less gas from Europe as a result of the slow returns of Siemens Energy equipment that was originally sent to Canada. Moscow should wait for Canada to address the problem, Alexander Novak (Deputy Prime Minister) said Friday.
Canada had previously stated that it is in negotiations with Germany over the matter.
Italy, which imported 40% of its Russian gas last year, now wants to ensure that the country has at least 90% gas storage for winter, as opposed to 54% currently.
Two government sources claimed that Italy could declare the State of Alert on Gas next week, if Russia keeps cutting supplies. This would result in a reduction in gas consumption, rationing for industrial uses, and boosting coal power generation.
Strong liquefied imports have helped to increase storage levels across Europe. Analysts from ING Research stated that EU inventories currently stand at 52%. This is less than the 5-year average, and more than the 43% seen a decade ago.
They stated that a “long-term outage” would raise questions about the EU’s ability to store enough energy for the coming heating season. In a sign of concern, they said that storage levels had fallen this week for only the second time since April.
Denmark’s energy agency indicated that, while the nation could still fill its stocks, it would have to do so at a slower rate due to reduced gas supply.
Enagas, a transmission system operator, said that Spanish power plants purchased more electricity-generating gas on Wednesday due to the rising temperatures.
Gazprom may increase its flows through Ukraine in order to compensate for the Nord Stream shortage, but it has not shown any signs of doing so yet. In addition, flow via Yamal Europe pipeline is flowing eastwards since several months instead of in the traditional westerly direction that leads to Germany.
Nord Stream 1 also needs to be maintained annually between July 11th and July 21, in order to stop all flow.
Since months, the United States is a key LNG exporter from Europe. But it was destroyed by an explosion at Texas’ major LNG export terminal last week. It will not be operational until September.
It is responsible for around 20% of U.S. LNG exports. This has made it a key supplier to European customers.