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Russia's Gazprom halts gas supplies to Italy due to Austrian 'regulatory changes'

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Russia's Gazprom halts gas supplies to Italy due to Austrian 'regulatory changes'


Flows fell to zero at Tarvisio entry point on Oct 1

Flows into Tarvisio had averaged 15 mil cu m/d in September

Marks latest disruption to Russian gas flows to Europe

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  • Stuart Elliott
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  • Jonathan Fox
  • Commodity
  • LNG Natural Gas

Russia's Gazprom said Oct. 1 it had halted gas supplies to Italy after Austrian regulatory changes made it impossible to deliver gas at the Tarvisio entry point.

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In a statement, Gazprom said the transportation of Russian gas in Austria had been suspended due to the refusal of the Austrian pipeline operator to confirm nominated volumes.

"The reason is related to the regulatory changes that took place in Austria at the end of September," Gazprom said. "Gazprom is working on solving the problem together with Italian buyers."

Earlier Oct. 1, Eni said it had been informed by Gazprom that the Russian company was unable to confirm the gas volumes requested for Oct. 1 as it was "not possible" to supply gas through Austria.

"Therefore, today's Russian gas supplies to Eni through the Tarvisio entry point will be at zero," the Italian company said. "Eni will provide updates in case supplies will be restored."

An Eni spokesperson said Oct. 3 that Russian gas imports were also expected to be zero for that day.

No Austria impact

Austrian regulator E-Control said new regulations for gas balancing groups came into force in Austria on Oct. 1, and that the changes had been known to all market participants "for months."

As a result of the changes, new contractual details within the balance groups must also be made, it said.

"There still seem to be open issues in the balance group to which the transit to Italy falls," it said.

"E-Control is not familiar with these internal contracts, but of course expects all market participants to behave in accordance with the rules and to take all measures to fulfill their obligations," it said.

"Of course, the legal framework was and is designed in such a way that gas transit through Austria can take place unhindered."

E-Control said there had been no impact on gas supplies to Austria as a result of the regulatory changes.

"Gas deliveries from Russia to Austria take place via a different balance group with a different balance group manager," it said.

"To the knowledge of E-Control, the internal balance group agreements were probably made in good time. A restriction of deliveries to Austria is therefore currently not recognizable."

Russian disruption

The halt in deliveries to Italy is the latest disruption to Russian gas flows to Europe after supplies were already halted via the Yamal-Europe and Nord Stream pipelines earlier this year and deliveries via Ukraine sharply curtailed.

Eni had been importing all its Russian gas via Austria and the Tarvisio entry point on the Austrian-Italian border since Nord Stream flows were halted completely at the end of August.

Russian gas imports at Tarvisio have been volatile in recent months and averaged around 15 million cu m/d in September, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Russian gas to Italy is delivered via the Velke Kapusany interconnection point on the border between Ukraine and Slovakia before entering Austria at Baumgarten, from where it is carried in the TAG pipeline to Tarvisio.

Italian gas prices have been trading at a discount to prices in northwest and eastern Europe in recent weeks thanks to an increase in imports of gas from Algeria.

Platts, part of S&P Global, assessed the Italian PSV month-ahead price at Eur148.75/MWh on Sept. 30, a discount of Eur15.75/MWh to the equivalent TTF price.

European gas prices slumped on Sept. 30 despite the ongoing uncertainties over the alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines and concerns that Gazprom could soon halt all remaining Ukrainian transit.

Month-ahead prices at certain hubs in Europe are now trading back below Eur100/MWh, including the LNG-rich hubs in the UK, France and Spain.

Eni -- one of the EU's biggest buyers of Russian gas -- had already seen its imports of Russian gas curtailed due to the falls in flows via Nord Stream over the summer.

Italy had also been one of Russia's biggest gas export markets, with supplies totaling 29 Bcm in 2021.