by Samer Hasn, Market Analyst and part of the Research Team at XS.com
NATURAL gas prices continued their upward trend today, reaching the highest levels not seen since last August 22. European natural gas futures (TTF) reached 44.77 MWh at approximately 12:00 noon GMT. At the same time, British natural gas futures prices continued to rise to the highest levels since mid-June, reaching the level of 115,010 pence per million British thermal units. On the other hand, US Henry Hub natural gas futures prices are trying to consolidate near the level of $2.6 per million British thermal units, after a series of losses extending from last week.
Today’s rise in natural gas prices comes after a series of events that heightened market concerns about supplies as the winter season approaches. On one hand, maintenance work in the Norwegian Skarv field was extended for an additional six days, until October 8, which may have caused a decline in gas shipments to European Union countries. We also saw a decline in US liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies with maintenance work at the Sabine Pass LNG export facility.
The markets’ eyes now remain on the weather forecast, especially in countries that may face risks in obtaining gas supplies and that were dependent on Russian natural gas. Markets are also looking cautiously at what is happening in the Black Sea. Markets may fear further cutting off gas supplies, whether by targeting gas pipelines to Europe or Russia banning its gas exports in the event of an escalation of military actions in the Black Sea by targeting Russian vessels, this may put more upward pressure on prices as the season approaches. winter.
Also, Russia’s ban on gasoline and diesel exports has reinforced market concerns about the possibility of a similar ban on natural gas exports.
But on the other hand, we witnessed the cessation of the labor strike that struck a number of Chevron’s natural gas facilities in Australia. Meteorological forecasts in the central United States and parts of Canada also indicate that temperatures will continue to rise above average for the rest of this month, which may delay the onset of the cold season, which requires more consumption of natural gas for heating purposes. Also, we had seen high levels of natural gas in European Union countries, at about 94% of capacity, as a result of excess stocks that came after the previous winter season, which was warmer than expected.