Gas price in Europe rebounds to nearly $500, Gazprom requests 42.4 mcm for transit via Ukraine
*MOSCOW. March 17 (Interfax) - The gas price in Europe rebounded 5% on Thursday to nearly $500 per thousand cubic meters
The temperature in the region is rising, with mild spring weather on the way according to the seasonal trend. However, prices are being kept up by strike action at LNG terminals in France, which are still closed.
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, the same as for Thursday, 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.
"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 17, 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.
Gas prices in Europe rebounded to nearly $500 per thousand cubic meters on Thursday. The day-ahead contract for today at the Dutch TTF gas hub in the Netherlands rose 5% in the space of 24 hours and closed at $495 per thousand cubic meters.
The spread between LNG prices in Asia and those in Europe is noticeable. In Asia, the most expensive futures contract for April on the JKM Platts index is $506 per thousand cubic meters, and futures under the LNG North-West Europe Marker are $468 per thousand cubic meters.
Wind turbines provided 19% of the region's electricity needs last week, and 25% on average this week.
Current inventory levels in Europe's underground gas storage (UGS) facilities have declined to 55.84%, which is 20 percentage points above the average for the same date over the past five years, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe.
Inventories contracted 0.26 percentage point during the gas day for March 15.
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 their highest for this time of year since records began.
European LNG terminals operated at 63% capacity in February, and 58% since the start of March, with the shutdown at France's terminals because of the strike action spoiling the figure.
The state of gas in UGS facilities in the United States is of increasing importance for the global market, as the country is actively increasing gas exports.
Mild weather in the U.S. means reduced offtake. Inventories decreased 1.6 billion cubic meters for the latest reporting week, which is markedly less than the usual offtake for this time of the year.
The current level of inventories is around 41%, which is 24 percentage points higher than the five-year average, according to the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration. The current inventories are almost at a five-year high.
Freeport LNG, the United States' largest LNG plant, has announced reopening all three liquefaction lines, thereby reducing the excess gas on the U.S. market and boosting supplies of LNG to the global market.