MRC -- Warm weather is helping Europe conserve fuel. However, gas reserves in the region's storage facilities have fallen below the 70% milestone, said Interfax.
The Ukrainian GTS Operator (OGTSU) accepted an order from Gazprom on Monday to transport 42.1 mcm of gas, the Ukrainian company reported. The Sunday order was for 40 mcm. The number applies to one of two entry points into the country's gas transportation system, the Sudzha gas measuring station. The order for transport via the Sokhranovka GIS was not accepted.
Gazprom representative Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters "Gazprom is shipping Russian gas for transit via Ukraine on February 5 in confirmed volumes of 42.3 mcm via the Sudzha GIS. The order for the Sokhranovka GIS was rejected."
OGTSU declared force majeure with regard to gas transit via Sokhranovka, since it allegedly cannot exercise operational and technological control over the Novopskov compressor station. The route through Sokhranovka used to provide transit to over 30 mcm of gas per day. Gazprom believes there are no grounds for force majeure, and no obstacles to continuing to operate as before.
Although January 2024 was actually more temperate than preliminary forecasts had suggested, the average temperature was still 2 degrees colder than the previous year. The current weather forecast for February promises temperatures one degree higher than the climate norm, at the same level as February last year.
The spot price of gas in Europe remained almost unchanged on Friday. The contract for day-ahead delivery at the TTF hub in the Netherlands closed at $321 per thousand cu. m.
Wind generation in Europe has provided an average of 25% of the region's electricity needs since the beginning of February, the WindEurope association said. Last February, wind power plants contributed 16%, while last month the figure was 22%.
There is a noticeable gap in LNG prices in Asia compared to Europe. March futures for the JKM Platts index (the Japan Korea Marker, which reflects the spot market value of cargo delivered to Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan) are trading at $338, while futures for LNG supplied to NW Europe (LNG North West Europe Marker) are at $302.
Natural gas reserve levels in Europe are one of the key indicators for the global market.
The current figure is 69.14%, 14 percentage points above the average for the same dates over the past five years, Gas Infrastructure Europe said. Although Europe is actively limiting the use of gas and its reserves, the current level of reserves is noticeably lower than the same dates in 2023 and 2020 (the GIE database contains observational data since 2011).
During the February 3 gas day (a day off), reserves decreased 0.18 percentage points. Since the latter part of January, amid warmer weather conditions, selection intensity has been significantly lower than the average for the last five years.
European LNG terminals operated at an average productivity of 51% in January 2023; since the beginning of February, their average load has been 47%.
The state of reserves in American underground gas storage facilities is becoming increasingly important as the country actively increases exports. The United States continues to withdraw gas from its storage facilities. In the latest reporting week, gas reserves fell 5.6 bcm, a third more than usual at this time of year. Reserves in the US are currently at 55%, which is very close (a difference of only +2 percentage points) to the average for the last five years, the Energy Information Administration said.