Gas prices fall in EU amid climate instability, supply risks
Prompted by maintenance at Norwegian gas facilities, prices still remain 15% higher this month.
Amid general market instability related to supply risks and hot weather, gas prices in the EU witnessed a drop on Monday after a spike last week.
At the Title Transfer Facility (TTF) hub in the Netherlands, July futures plunged by 13.8% and the benchmark Dutch front-month contract dropped to €30.18 per megawatt-hour (MWh) or $346.39 per 1,000 cubic meters.
However, prompted by maintenance at Norwegian gas facilities, prices remain 15% higher this month.
The previous rise in prices was a result of fear that the hot climate in Europe and unexpected power outages in Norway would create an increased demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and put supplies at risk.
There are generally five factors to consider in the fluctuation of demand and supply of natural gas, starting with seasonality, consumption patterns, the price of competing fuel-based energy sources, global events, and EIA reports.
Short-term demand for cooling in households and businesses may arise due to the warmer weather, but long-term risks are still valid for the supply of the next heating season.
Complications for traders
Analysts at Engie’s EnergyScan said in a statement that “until EU gas stocks are full, European day-ahead and month-ahead gas prices have significant upside potential, which is reflective of competition between uses: current demand, mainly from power generators, versus storage injection demand”.
The analysts further explain that the current gas market instability has “highlighted complications for traders” while the energy crisis is still being assessed as to whether it is still extreme enough to continue importing additional LNG shipments this summer.
According to Gas Infrastructure Europe, EU gas storage facilities are almost full at 74%.
In related news, Germany's Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned last week that Europe's largest economy could end up shutting down industrial production if Ukraine's agreement with Russia to transit gas to Europe is not extended.
The gas transit deal, which is set to expire at the end of 2024, is still a main source of energy for countries such as Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia, and remains a source of revenue for Kiev, which earns transfer fees by allowing gas passage through its territory.