Europe's Energy Crisis Abated by Mild Winter and Low Gas Prices
- 06-Jan-2023 5:51 PM
- Journalist: Bob Duffler
Europe: Natural Gas Prices in Europe Fluctuate with Supply Risks and Mild Weather as Futures Rise 7.8%; France and Germany to See Above-Normal Temps Despite Global Market Tightness, Exposing Europe to Further Disruptions.
Europe's energy crisis continues with supply risks and increased competition from Asia for LNG fuel, prices remain high despite a recent downward trend, due to limited global export capacity and the ongoing winter season. Despite some relief from reduced Russian flows, many worry that the European market could face further disruptions if the situation does not improve.
The recent decrease in demand and high gas inventory levels across Europe have been a welcome relief for both consumers and authorities. Stockpiles are above their usual five-year seasonal norm, with Germany's near 91% full according to Gas Infrastructure Europe. This has helped reduce prices, creating optimism that the region may be able to overcome its energy crisis.
The European energy crisis is being surged by the current record – peak winter season, granting some relief to the region. According to the president of Germany's network regulator, Klaus Mueller, Europe is now much more optimistic about its energy situation than it was in fall. Demand for gas has been significantly lower over the winter months due to reduced consumption from residential, commercial, and industrial users. With gas inventories well above their five-year seasonal norm for this time of year, Europe will face less stress when it comes to refilling storage facilities for next winter.
Dutch front-month natural gas futures have been on a downward spiral in the past three weeks. However, on Friday morning, the price per megawatt-hour increased by 4.6%, to € 75.75 in Amsterdam. Meanwhile, Europe's other major gas hub saw similar activity, with the UK gas contract rising 2.3% after initially dipping earlier that day. This seemingly minor change could signal the start of a reversal in European energy trends.