European gas prices soar after Russia deepens supply cuts


European gas prices have surged 30 per cent in two days after Russia deepened supply cuts to the continent in Moscow’s newest try to weaponise vitality provides.

Futures contracts for supply subsequent month tied to TTF, the European benchmark wholesale gas value, jumped 20 per cent on Tuesday to breach €210 per megawatt hour, the best degree since early March, a day after Russia warned of lighter flows on the biggest pipeline supplying the area. Prices are greater than 10 occasions greater than the typical between 2010 and 2020.

Russian state-backed vitality group Gazprom on Monday stated flows on the Nord Stream 1 (NS1) pipeline would plummet to 33mn cubic metres from Wednesday due to turbine upkeep points. That would quantity to a fifth of the pipeline’s capability and half of present ranges.

“Everyone in the market was expecting Russian volumes to drop,” stated James Huckstepp, supervisor of Emea gas analytics at S&P Global Commodity Insights, a consultancy. “But the market wasn’t expecting flows to fall this quickly.”

The rise in gas prices got here as EU ministers struck a watered-down deal on Tuesday to scale back gas consumption by 15 per cent over winter with exemptions for sure member states much less depending on Russian gas.

The greater gas prices point out the mounting stress on Europe to hunt various provides to maintain properties heat and trade working by the approaching winter. Failing that, politicians are warning that gas should be rationed for companies, factories and even households.

Benchmark energy prices in Germany had been pushed to a recent document excessive of €370 per MWh by the rise for gas, a gas used to generate electrical energy. Prices hardly ever rose to greater than €60 per MWh earlier than 2021.

In an indication of the considerations about how excessive vitality prices will have an effect on the eurozone financial system, the euro fell 0.9 per cent on Tuesday to $1.012.

“We are now beyond the limits of affordability for many industrial users, and we might see recession alarms going off soon,” stated Kaushal Ramesh, a senior analyst at Rystad, an vitality consultancy.

NS1 recommenced the movement of gas to Europe final week at 40 per cent of capability after coming back from scheduled upkeep. But Russian president Vladimir Putin adopted by on a warning that provides would droop on Wednesday as a result of sanctions had been inflicting points for generators that wanted to endure upkeep.

European politicians have decried the Kremlin’s strikes as “weaponising” gas provides to the continent. Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy added to the criticisms late on Monday, accusing Moscow of “gas blackmail” in opposition to Europe.

Russia blamed sanctions for the drop in flows. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov advised reporters {that a} key turbine for NS1 was on its manner after upkeep and was anticipated to be put in “sooner rather than later”.

But he added: “The situation is critically complicated by the restrictions and sanctions that have been imposed on our country.”

European gas prices closed as excessive as €215 per MWh within the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Prices settled considerably within the weeks after, however they’ve rebounded since June because the Kremlin confirmed its willingness to depart Europe in need of gas.

Toby Copson, managing accomplice at Trident Markets, a gas buying and selling firm, stated gas prices globally had been more likely to really feel much more upward stress when China got here to the market to purchase provides for winter.

“It’s got all the makings for a crisis across the board,” he stated. “There’s not enough supply, they haven’t injected enough into storage recently and it’s a disaster situation Europe is sitting in.”

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