On 14 September, Spanish gas reserves reached 100% of their capacity, 24 percentage points above the level recorded on the same day last year. This level has allowed the quotation in MIBGAS to remain at an average daily price of €34.80/MWh in the first fortnight.
Imports from Algeria remain very solid, at almost 70 mcm/d. In August, 25 LNG tankers unloaded, the same as last year, and in this first fortnight there have been 11. Reserves in LNG tanks are at 66%, with 15,638 GWh of gas in storage (about 20 days of autonomy for the system). Although the Dutch market (TTF) has shown the same trend, there is a slight premium with the Spanish market, as the average TTF price for the first fortnight was €33.63/MWh.
At 15 September, European gas imports averaged 548 mcm/d, compared with 770 mcm/d for the same period last year, i.e. 28.86% less.
European imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have fallen by 17%. Since August, gas has been trading at the TTF at a lower level than its Asian counterpart (JKM). Large Asian buyers are becoming more active in attracting LNG cargoes, with the prospect of rising demand by the second half of 2023. Indeed, import forecasts for China, Japan, South Korea and India have been revised upwards by 3%.
This is in addition to the maintenance of the facilities at Norway’s large Troll field. On 9 September, Norwegian imports were at their lowest level of the year (107 mcm/d), down from 310 mcm/d on 18 August, when maintenance operations began. Over the next week, Norwegian gas deliveries to Europe are expected to increase, bringing the current unavailable capacity of 200 mcm/d down to 85 mcm/d.
In any case, despite this limited supply from Norway and the fall in LNG imports, the weak demand for gas has allowed Europe to continue increasing the level of its reserves, which at 15 September stood at 94.31% of capacity.
Uncertainty keeps winter gas prices high
A strike at Chevron’s LNG plants (Australia), recurrent maintenance extensions at Norway’s largest gas field (Troll) and reports of cancelled cargoes at the LNG Freeport (USA) keep prices for the end of next winter and for 2024 50% higher than the current spot price.
The daily price on the Dutch TTF market for the first fortnight is at a daily average of €33.63/MWh, compared to more than €50/MWh for 2024. The premium exceeds €15-20/MWh.