4 Aug 2022 11:26

European gas storage facilities more than 70% full; Gazprom gas transit request via Ukraine 41.9 mcm

MOSCOW. Aug 4 (Interfax) - European underground gas storage facilities are more than 70% full as the region tries to keep up the pace of gas injection, despite a severe gas shortage in the region. This is being achieved by limiting current gas consumption and the wider use of other less green fuels like coal and oil.

The request for transit of Russian gas through Ukraine on Thursday was little changed from previous days and months.

Ukrainian transit

Ukraine's Gas Transport System Operator (GTSOU) has accepted a request from Gazprom for Thursday to transport 41.9 million cubic meters of gas through the country, compared with 41.6 mcm on Wednesday, data from GTSOU show.

Capacity was requested only through one of two entry points into Ukraine's Gas Transport System, the Sudzha metering station. A request was not accepted through the Sokhranivka metering 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 41.9 million cubic meters on August 4, with booking via the Sokhranivka metering station declined," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters.

GTSOU declared a force majeure in regard to accepting gas for transit through Sokhranivka, claiming that it cannot control the Novopskov compressor station. Ukraine also said that if gas continued to be fed from Russia to the Sokhranivka station, amounts would be reduced accordingly at the exit points from Ukraine's gas transport system. The route through Sokhranivka provided transit of more than 30 mcm of gas per day.

Gazprom believes there are no grounds for force majeure or obstacles to continuing to operations as before.

European market

Europe can expect another day of extreme hot weather on Thursday.

Wind power's contribution to electricity generation across the European Union averaged 11% last week, falling to 10% in the first three days of this week, data from WindEurope show.

The Nord Stream pipeline (NS1) from Russia to Europe pumped 33 mcm of gas on August 3.

At full capacity, NS1 can pump up to 167 mcm of gas per day, but capacity has been falling due to disruptions in the maintenance schedule for compressor equipment at the Portovaya compressor station that feeds the pipeline. It has gas pumping turbines from Rolls-Royce, whose gas turbine business was subsequently acquired by Germany's Siemens.

The delays are due to sanctions that Canada imposed against Gazprom, as a result of which one turbine was not returned to Russia on time from Siemens Energy's service center in Montreal. Meanwhile, the time has come for maintenance on other turbines, both due to them reaching the end of their operating period between repairs and due to breakdowns.

Spot prices for gas in Europe with Nord Stream compressors out of action are holding above $2,050 per 1,000 cubic meters. Prices in Asia are rising on the back of prices in Europe. September futures on the JKM Platts (Japan Korea Marker) index, which reflects spot market prices for gas delivered to Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan, are now trading at $1,640 after holding at $1,300-$1,400 for a lengthy period.

Europe is continuing to inject gas into underground gas storage (UGS) facilities, where stocks now stand at 70.54%, up by 0.39 percentage points on the last reporting date, August 2, data from Gas Infrastructure Europe show. This pace of injection can only be sustained if the consumption of gas for the ongoing needs of power plants and industry is limited.

Data on the state of UGS, reserve levels in which are now regulated by the law, have become one of the most important economic and political indicators for Europe, reflecting EU leaders' ability to ensure energy security.

Europe imposed tight regulation of the use of UGS this year. Reserves are supposed to be at least 80% of UGS capacity by the start of the 2022 offtake season and increase to 90% in subsequent years.

European LNG terminals operated at an average of 69% of capacity in July compared to 63% in June, and 68% in the first two days of August, still way below peak capacity of 76%. This region remains a premium market for LNG, as prices in Asia are somewhat lower than at European hubs.