EU rushing to secure gas for winter
The EU may fill up its underground natural gas facilities ahead of schedule, Rystad Energy reported this week. European gas stocks were around 76% full as of June 25, up from 56% in the same period last year, according to the Norway-based consultancy.
"Considering historical demand, and assuming different supply scenarios, storage facilities could even be full ahead of winter this year, resulting in gas flows having to be diverted elsewhere," said Lu Ming Pang, a senior analyst at Rystad.
He added that the EU was likely to reach its 90% gas storage target before the November 1 deadline.
The bloc set gas inventory targets last year after imports from Russia to the region were slashed amid sweeping sanctions imposed by Western countries over the conflict in Ukraine. Supplies dwindled further after the Nord Stream pipeline delivering gas from Russia was destroyed in a likely act of sabotage by unknown actors.
The EU started stockpiling at the beginning of the year but inflows of gas have slowed lately due to high demand from industrial consumers, according to Reuters. However, in early June, European gas storage sites were 48% higher than the ten-year average for that period.
Meanwhile, natural gas prices have been rising for most of June, largely driven by fear that hot weather in northern Europe and unplanned production outages in Norway would increase demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and put the EU in competition for supplies.
Natural gas prices have surged about 38% since the beginning of the month as ongoing maintenance at Norway's Oseberg natural gas field has been extended to July 5, according to Rystad Energy.
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