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European gas prices surge on renewed Russian gas supply uncertainty

Highlights

TTF month-ahead price soars to close to Eur300/MWh

Nord Stream to close for three-day maintenance Aug 31

No let-up in European gas price strength

European gas prices surged on Aug. 22 following the announcement late Aug. 19 by Russia's Gazprom that it would close the Nord Stream pipeline completely for three days of maintenance on Aug. 31.

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The TTF month-ahead price soared close to Eur300/MWh early Aug. 22, reaching as high as Eur295/MWh at 1200 GMT, on renewed concerns that Nord Stream flows may not return after the work.

The contract was last assessed at Eur247.50/MWh on Aug. 19, according to Platts price assessments by S&P Global Commodity Insights, with prices having hit record highs every day last week.

Prices have been at sustained highs since September 2021, first due to Russian supply constraints and concerns over storage, followed by a surge in prices after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 and cuts in Nord Stream flows.

Gazprom said after the market close on Aug. 19 that it would halt gas supplies via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany completely for three days from Aug. 31 until Sept. 2 to carry out maintenance work on the only operational turbine at the Portovaya compressor station.

The Nord Stream pipeline is currently running at just 20% of capacity, with only one turbine operational, capping flows at 33 million cu m/d.

Gazprom said supplies via Nord Stream would resume at that level once the necessary work on the turbine has been completed.

"On Aug. 31, the only operational Trent 60 unit will be shut down for maintenance and preventative maintenance," it said.

The Trent 60 turbine is also known as the Siemens SGT-A65 turbine used at Portovaya.

"A set of routine maintenance under the current maintenance contract will be carried out jointly with Siemens specialists," Gazprom said.

"Upon completion of work and in the absence of technical malfunctions of the unit, gas transportation will be restored to the level of 33 million cu m/d," it said.

Gazprom said that, in accordance with technical documentation from Siemens, it is necessary to carry out maintenance on the unit every 1,000 hours.

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