4 May 2022 13:41

Europe boosting rates of gas injection into UGS facilities, increasing imports of Russian gas

MOSCOW. May 4 (Interfax) - Requests for delivery of Russian gas via Ukraine have stabilized at a high level of almost 100 million cubic meters per day since the beginning of May, which is close to the long-term booking volume via the Ukrainian corridor (40 bcm per year, or 109 million cubic meters per day).

European importers' bids have increased since early May, as the contract price of gas has fallen. Most of the contracts are linked to the day-ahead market index - its value in April was at a record level of about $1,400 per 1,000 cubic meters, and in May it dropped to $1,100. In April, as in January of this year, buyers minimized offtake of gas under contracts with external suppliers, seeking cheaper alternatives in the spot market. As contract prices approached spot prices, import bids increased automatically.


Gazprom is supplying Russian gas for transit via Ukraine routinely, in line with the confirmed bookings of European customers at 98.3 million cubic meters on May 4," Gazprom spokesperson Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters.

According to data provided by the Gas Transmission System (GTS) Operator of Ukraine, nomination for May 4 is 98.3 mcm, and bookings for May 3 totaled 98.8 mcm.

After rejecting the new system of payment for Russian gas and consequently refusing to buy more supplies, Poland is now receiving the same volumes of gas from the West as it used to get from the East. Gas is now coming to Poland from Germany. On Wednesday, reverse flow through the Yamal-Europe pipeline from Germany to Poland is booked at 0.9 million cubic meters per hour, according to data from gas transport operator Gascade. Gazprom booked Yamal-Europe direct throughput capacity two nights in a row (May 2 to 3 and May 3 to 4). The physical flow of gas through the trunk pipeline was halted at that time due to the execution of multidirectional orders (forward and reserve deliveries).

Europe is continuing to inject gas into its underground gas storages facilities. Current stocks stand at 33%, an increase of 0.39 percentage point over the past 24 hours, according to the data released by Gas Infrastructure Europe. The current level of stocks in European underground gas storage facilities is only 5.9 percentage points behind the five-year average.

High prices for imported gas have restrained injection in April. With the onset of May and an increase in imports from Russia, the rate of injection has increased. In the first two days of May, the rate of gas injection into the UGS facilities exceeded the average rate for the last five years by a third (in April it was only 12% higher).

Earlier, Europe introduced strict regulation of the use of UGS facilities. By the beginning of the 2022 offtake season, reserves must total at least 80% of UGS capacity, and 90% in the following days. However, the EU leadership continues to disagree with the new terms of payment for Russian gas. This threatens to stop supplies to more and more countries (after Poland and Bulgaria) and makes the situation with the implementation of this directive more and more complicated.

The situation with wind power generation in Europe is far from improvement. In the next ten days, little to no wind is expected, along with calm weather, which provides few chances for boosting generation. Last week (April 25-May 1), wind turbines provided an average of 8.7% of EU electricity; in the first two days of the new week, it was about 10%, WindEurope data show.