Global gas market entering summer peak, Gazprom books 42.2 mcm of gas for transit via Ukraine on Thursday
MOSCOW. June 30 (Interfax) - The global gas market is entering the summer temperature peak in the Northern Hemisphere, and accumulated LNG stocks have thus far helped buyers in China and Japan to face the challenges calmly.
The Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine (GTSOU) has accepted a booking from Gazprom for Thursday to pump 42.2 million cubic meters of gas through the country compared to 42.1 mcm on Wednesday, GTSOU data indicate, with capacity pumping through only the Sudzha metering station, one of two entry points into the GTSOU, and no pumping via the Sokhranivka metering station.
The GTSOU has declared a force majeure regarding accepting gas for transit through Sokhranivka, saying that it cannot efficiently control the Novopskov compressor station.
"Gazprom is supplying Russian gas for transit through the territory of Ukraine at the volume confirmed by the Ukraine side via the Sudzha metering station at 42.2 million cubic meters on June 30, with booking via the Sokhranivka metering station declined," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters.
Gazprom believes that there are no grounds for the force majeure nor any obstacles to continuing operations as usual. "Ukrainian specialists have worked regularly at the Sokhranivka metering station and the Novopskov compressor station all this time, and continue to do so. Transit through Sokhranivka has been ensured in full, and there have not been any complaints from counterparties," Gazprom notes.
Kyiv has proposed transferring transit volumes from Sokhranivka to Sudzha, though Gazprom is certain that this is technically impossible, as based on the Russian flow diagram. Moreover, the distribution of volumes is specified in the cooperation agreement dated December 30, 2019.
Meantime, the Ukrainian side insists that payment must still be remitted based on the calculated pumping volume as per the long-term agreement at 109 million cubic meters per day under the "pump-or-pay" principle. Gazprom indicates that the Ukrainian side has reduced the possibility of pumping by one third, while Naftogaz Ukraine declares that it is currently receiving less payment for transit from Gazprom, and that it is preparing an appeal for arbitration.
Following hot weather at the start of the week in Europe, there have been several days of cool temperatures with clouds and rain that have reduces energy consumption for air conditioning.
Wind-power generation in Europe provided 8.5% of the EU's energy balance on Monday, having averaged 10% last week, according to data from the WindEurope association. However, changing weather does not promise a significant increase in wind power, hence generation of European renewable energy.
Spot prices for gas in Europe have risen to $1,500 per thousand cubic meters amid a reduction in Nord Stream's transit capacity owing to the technical repercussions from Canada's sanctions regarding partial blocking of maintenance on the pipeline's turbines, resulting in Germany receiving ever-decreasing supplies of gas. Consequently, August futures in Asia on the JKM Platts spot index have risen to $1,330.
"There is a temporary market equilibrium in Europe, though it is likely to be short-lived," Rystad Energy experts said. Hot weather is driving gas consumption in the United States and Japan, thus pushing up prices. Another factor of uncertainty in the market has been strikes by operators of Shell's (SPB: RDS.A) Prelude LNG plant, which has capacity of 3.6 million tonnes per year.
The European region continues to pump gas into underground gas storage (UGS) facilities. Reserves are currently around 57.61%, growth of 0.3 percentage points for the past day, according to data from the Gas Infrastructure Europe association, and the current level of stocks in Europe's UGS facilities lags the five-year average by 1.7 percentage points. The European Union has introduced a strict regulation for usage of UGS facilities since the start of the year. Stocks must be at least 80% of the capacity of the UGS facilities by the beginning of the offtake season in 2022, and at least 90% of the capacity in the upcoming years.
European LNG receiving terminals are operating at an average of 63% capacity in June (65% on June 28) against 65% in May.
Europe remains the premium market for LNG, as prices in Asia remain slightly below those at European hubs. However, the situation could change soon, as China lifts its quarantine restrictions in force in the first half of the year owing to the prevention of the coronavirus, which could affect market capacity in the Asia-Pacific region.