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GAS – Prices slip as ample supply, muted demand weigh

(Montel) European gas prices edged lower in Thursday trading as strong underlying supply offset the prospect of some short-term demand increases.

The benchmark front-month Dutch TTF contract last traded down by a marginal EUR 0.26 to EUR 27.93/MWh, on Ice Endex.

The equivalent UK NBP contract was last seen 0.48p lower at 68.50/th.

“The market just seems to be in a bit of a holding pattern,” said Craig Lowrey, principal consultant at Cornwall Insight.

“We have underlying healthy supply and although there will be a tick up in demand [in the UK] in the short term, people are anticipating this will be the last hurrah of winter.”

The UK Met Office has issued snow and ice warnings across the country until the weekend.

More broadly, western Europe was expected to see temperatures next week marginally above seasonal norms but they should drop to as low as 3C below normal the following week, according to forecaster SMHI.

Ample supply
On the supply side, EU gas storage facilities were seen last at around 68% of capacity, much in line with the same time last year, Gas Infrastructure Europe data showed.

And while Norwegian nominations – at around 320mcm/day – were still below last week’s 350mcm/day average, they were up from levels of around 270mcm/day earlier in the week, TSO Gassco data showed.

As such, Lowrey said prices were likely to remain under pressure for the remainder of winter.

“With no severe cold weather on the horizon, it would need something to go wrong with supply for prices to rise significantly,” he said.

An analyst with an LNG supplier agreed, noting “in terms of upside to prices, I think only a significant outage could support prices”.

“This would need to be a significant and extended outage or some extended cold, but without these things, there is little to no support for the TTF,” she said.