Wind power generation in Europe at lowest this year, transit bookings via Ukraine at nearly 100 mln cubic meters of gas
MOSCOW. May 5 (Interfax) - Bookings for pumping Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine have stabilized since the start of May at nearly 100 million cubic meters per day, which closely corresponds to the volumes of the long-term contract with Gazprom at 40 billion cubic meters per year, or 109 million cubic meters per day.
Bookings from European importers have increased since the beginning of May, as the contract price for gas has declined. Rising temperatures and seasonally declining gas consumption allow importers to return to the flexible optimization of booking volumes from suppliers depending on the cost. Most of the contracts are pegged to the day-ahead market index, which hit record highs of around $1,400 per thousand cubic meters in April, having dipped to $1,100 in May. Buyers reduced gas off-take under contracts with external suppliers in April, as in January, trying to find a less expensive alternative on the spot market. Converging contract prices and spot prices have automatically increased import bookings.
According to data from the Gas Transmission System (GTS) Operator of Ukraine, nomination for May 5 is 98.7 million cubic meters, and bookings for May 4 totaled 98.3 million cubic meters.
Having rejected the new contract-currency-to-ruble payment system for Russian gas and, accordingly, refused further deliveries, Poland now receives the same amount of gas from Germany rather than from the east. In May, there have been bookings for capacity via the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline for forward supplies from Russia to Germany, as well as for reverse supplies from Germany to Poland.
Europe continues injecting gas into its underground gas storage (UGS) facilities. The current stock level is 34.55%, an increase of 0.4 percentage points over the past day, according to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe. The current stockpile in Europe's UGS facilities is 5.7 percentage points behind the five-year average.
High prices for imported gas restrained injection in April, though the pace of injection has risen since the start of May with an increase in Russian gas imports. The rate of injecting gas into UGS facilities during the first three days of May was 38% higher than the average for the last five years against an excess of only 12% in April.
Europe this year has introduced strict regulations on utilizing UGS facilities, which stipulate that stocks must be at least 80% of the UGS capacity by the start of the off-take season in 2022, and 90% in the following days. However, EU leadership continues to disagree with the new payment terms for Russian gas, which threatens stoppage of deliveries to ever more countries after Poland and Bulgaria, thereby rendering implementation of the said directive increasingly more complicated.
The situation with generating electricity from renewable sources has been worsening in Europe. Light winds and/or calm weather is forecast for the next 10 days, meaning that output is unlikely to improve. Wind turbines generated an average of 8.7% of electricity in the European Union during the previous gas week of April 25 to May 1, with the figure having dipped to 7% on Wednesday, according to data from WindEurope. This is the lowest level since December 21, 2021.
NEW PAYMENT SYSTEM
According to the decree of the Russian president issued on March 31, 2022, the government as of April has introduced a new procedure for paying for Russian gas supplies that stipulates the obligatory conversion of the contract currency into rubles through Gazprombank .
Special ruble and foreign currency type "K" accounts are opened for foreign buyers in Gazprombank, which is the government's authorized financial institution. Regarding the accounts, it is not permitted to suspend operations, seize and/or write off funds when foreign buyers are fulfilling their obligations if said actions are not related to payment under a contract for the supply of natural gas. A foreign buyer pays for the gas in the contract currency, Gazprombank sells the currency on the Moscow Exchange , and then transfers the rubles to Gazprom, at which time the obligation to pay for the natural gas is considered to have been fulfilled.
If the condition is not completed, then deliveries are halted. Further shipment is prohibited if the payment deadline for the contractually supplied gas has arrived and the foreign buyer has not rendered payment, or has rendered it in foreign currency, either not in full, or not to the account in the authorized bank.
Poland and Bulgaria have chosen not to receive Russian gas owing to their respective refusal to accept the terms and conditions of the new settlement system.