Gas stocks in European underground facilities fall to 61%, transit request via Ukraine reaches 42.4 mcm limit
MOSCOW. March 2 (Interfax) - Europe has been using up gas stocks from underground storage facilities and tanks at LNG terminals actively this week. Temperatures in the region are high by day but well below freezing at night.
The Gas Transport System Operator of Ukraine, or GTSOU, has accepted a booking from Gazprom today to transport 42.4 million cubic meters of gas through the country, compared with 42.2 mcm the previous day, data from the 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 Sokhranovka metering station.
The published nomination is the highest technically possible for that route, even with the restrictions imposed by Ukraine.
"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 42.4 mcm on March 2, with booking via the Sokhranovka metering station declined," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters.
The GTSOU has declared a force majeure with respect to acceptance of gas for transit through Sokhranovka, claiming that it cannot control the Novopskov compressor station. The route through Sokhranovka had provided transit of more than 30 mcm of gas per day. Gazprom believes that there are no grounds for the force majeure or obstacles to continuing operations as before.
Wind turbines provided 16% of the region's electricity needs on average last week, but just 11.5% on Wednesday, the lowest figure for six days, according to WindEurope.
Gas prices have firmed in Europe. The day-ahead contract for today at the Dutch TTF gas hub in the Netherlands closed at $525 per thousand cubic meters on Tuesday.
The spread between LNG prices in Asia and those in Europe is again noticeable. In Asia, the most expensive futures contract for April on the JKM Platts index is $521 per thousand cubic meters, and futures under the LNG North-West Europe Marker are $479 per thousand cubic meters.
Current inventory levels in Europe's underground gas storage (UGS) facilities have declined to 61.07%, which is 22 percentage points above the average for the same date over the past five years, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe.
Inventories contracted 0.52 percentage point during the gas day for February 28. Gas offtake on Monday and Tuesday was well above the five-year average for those dates.
The relatively mild weather in October, November and January, in addition to the continent's austerity measures, have resulted in the level of inventories in UGS facilities being at an all-time high for this time of year since monitoring began, thereby underpinning the authorities' confidence in getting through the winter in good shape.
European LNG terminals operated at 62% capacity in January, and had averaged 63% since the beginning of February. The figure rose to a 2.5-month high of 71% on February 28.
The state of gas inventory in UGS facilities in the United States is of increasing importance for the global market, as the country is actively increasing gas exports.
Inventories decreased 2 billion cubic meters for the latest reporting week ending February 17, 2023, which is 60% less than the usual offtake for this time of the year.
The current level of inventories is around 46%, which is 15 percentage points higher than the average figure for the past five years, according to the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration. The current level of inventories is close to the highest figure for the past five years.
Freeport LNG, the largest U.S. LNG plant, has announced reopening two of its three liquefaction lines, thereby reducing the excess gas on the U.S. market and boosting supplies of LNG to the global market.