December 24, 2021
MOSCOW, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Gas prices in Europe fell on Thursday, with the benchmark price falling 15% from its all-time highs, while the Yamal pipeline, which typically carries Russian gas to Europe via Germany, continued to circulate in the opposite direction.
This means that, for the third day in a row, the pipeline is sending gas normally used to heat homes and generate electricity in Europe from Germany back to Poland.
This coincided with the filling of the recently completed Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, which bypasses Ukraine, by the Russian gas giant, Gazprom, in preparation for it to begin supplying gas to Europe sometime next year. .
Gas prices in Europe had hit a record this week, amid mounting tensions between Moscow and western countries over Ukraine, after the flow of the Yamal pipeline changed direction. Russia said the change had no political implications.
Some countries have said that these operations are related, but Russia has repeatedly denied any relationship between the Yamal flows and the launch of Nord Stream 2, which Ukraine and the United States oppose and which is awaiting the green light. from Germany.
The price of Dutch wholesale gas, which is the European benchmark, fell to 141 euros per megawatt hour on Thursday, almost 15%.
Operators said news of several shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) bound for Europe had provided some respite, although prices have risen more than 600% since the start of 2021.
However, Russian brokerage Aton said in a note that no significant relief is expected in the short term, as gas withdrawals from storage in Europe stood at 762 million cubic meters, the highest since the start of the season. heating.
“The natural gas crisis in Europe is gathering steam. Despite possible relief from the reorientation of LNG shipments from Asia to Europe, we expect European gas prices to remain firm at least through the winter season.” Aton said.
Published in Finance