European Union (EU) Nitrogen Production Faces Struggles Amid Soaring Natural Gas Price Hike
- 16-Oct-2023 5:24 PM
- Journalist: Jacob Kutchner
Nitrogen prices in the European market remained clutched by the continuous rise in natural gas prices and the demand outlook from end-use manufacturing units. The influence of Israeli Developments weighs heavily on the European Natural Gas Market, and the after-effects could be easily seen in the prices of Nitrogen in the domestic market.
The European benchmark gas futures saw a significant increase, and the situation was further complicated by Chevron's announcement of a strike by workers at two critical Australian LNG facilities, causing unease among investors and market participants. Additionally, the temporary closure of the Balticconnector, a gas pipeline connecting Finland and Estonia, intensified the situation in the domestic market.
While demand for Nitrogen and natural gas is expected to rise with the onset of colder weather, consumption from residential and industrial sectors is anticipated to remain subdued compared to the previous month's prices. The European natural gas market is now experiencing heightened uncertainty as investors are making more significant speculative moves for the upcoming quarter, primarily due to mounting concerns about Chevron's activities in Israel and Australia, which are casting a shadow over the market outlook of natural gas and Nitrogen prices. This recent 40% surge in European natural gas prices within a week once again presents a challenge to regional Nitrogen production.
Substantial price increases for Nitrogen occurred in 2021 and 2022 due to previous affordability challenges. This was a result of various factories closing for extended periods, leading to a significant influx of urea and ammonium sulfate, requiring Nitrogen as a key element import to compensate for the lost production. In August, global assessments of the cost of producing blue ammonia increased slightly, with Northwest Europe regaining its position as the top-priced region, surpassing Far East Asia. Additionally, US Gulf prices rebounded after prolonged declines impacting the overall Nitrogen prices.
AS per ChemAnalyst, the Nitrogen outlook in the medium to long term may remain positive, accompanied by the natural gas and inclined demand. This confidence is grounded in expectations of limited incremental supply additions in the coming years and robust economic conditions in the farming sector that encourage the use of Nitrogen fertilizers. Elevated marginal production costs in Europe further contribute to the favorable outlook. The conflict between Israel and Hamas has heightened concerns about increasing geopolitical uncertainties in financial markets. Investors are closely monitoring the situation to determine whether this conflict could lead to the involvement of other nations, potentially causing additional spikes in oil prices and negatively impacting the global economy once again.