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GAS – Prices trade flat amid mixed signals

(Montel) European gas prices were trading flat on Wednesday amid a combination of increased flows from Norway, cold weather forecasts and LNG supply concerns.

The benchmark front-month contract on the Dutch TTF hub was last seen up EUR 0.04 to EUR 28.65/MWh, after hitting an intraday low of EUR 27.86/MWh.

The equivalent contract on the UK’s NBP hub was 0.22p higher at 70.31p/th.

Prices had “stabilised after pricing in colder weather and somewhat lower LNG” amid ample stocks, said LSEG gas analyst Yuriy Onyshkiv, adding that fundamentals were unchanged.

Current mild conditions in Europe, with temperatures 3-7C above normal, would switch to colder conditions of about reference levels next week, according to Swedish forecaster SMHI.

EU storage was last seen at 69% full, 1.5 percentage points lower year on year, Gas Infrastructure Europe data showed.

Another Spain-based gas trader agreed. “We were surprised by the declines, as we were expecting prices to start picking up with the cold that’s coming next week.”

Engie’s EnergyScan attributed earlier losses in today's session to increased flows from Norway.

Two outages at Norwegian gas plant Nyhamna and gas field Troll are reducing gas exports by almost 50mcm/day. The Trolll one will extend until Friday morning, 48 hours later than previously planned.

However, flows have recovered from the initial outages that had affected flows by a combined 82mcm/day, Montel reported earlier.

The flows were last seen at 325.5mcm/day, according to Gassco.

Lower LNG
LNG imports into Europe and Turkey plummeted 18% last week to 2.9bcm, while supplies this week could fall further to 2.7bcm, according to preliminary Kpler ship-tracking data.

The price spread between Asian LNG prices and European hub prices has narrowed to hover below USD 0.50/MMbtu for the front month.

“Shipping disruptions along the Suez Canal are tightening the JKM-TTF spread, as the dry up of LNG flows via the Red Sea is driving Middle Eastern LNG flows towards Asia away from Europe,” International Energy Agency analyst Greg Molnar said on LinkedIn.

If disruptions continue and “Europe ends the winter season with a growing appetite for storage refill, we could potentially see TTF rising once again above JKM, to attract more LNG, including via costlier shipping routes”.

Updates published story to include Troll outage amendment.