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Norwegian gas flows to Europe, UK edge down in September

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Norwegian gas flows to Europe, UK edge down in September


NCS supplies slip to 7.68 Bcm last month

Summer maintenance continued through September

Dutch imports hit two-year high on TTF premium

  • Author
  • Stuart Elliott
  • Editor
  • James Leech
  • Commodity
  • Natural Gas

London — Norway's pipeline gas imports into continental Europe and the UK in September edged down by 1.6% month on month to 7.68 Bcm, S&P Global Platts Analytics data showed Oct. 6, as planned summer maintenance on the Norwegian Continental Shelf continued to affect flows.

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The biggest period of planned NCS maintenance began around the middle of August and continued until the end of September, with an average of around 50 million cu m/d lost during the work.

However, supplies in September were much higher than a year earlier when a particularly heavy maintenance schedule caused Norwegian deliveries to slump to a 15-year low of just 4.59 Bcm.

Norwegian gas exports in January-September totaled 74.6 Bcm, the data showed, down by less than 1% from 75.3 Bcm a year earlier.

Norwegian flows have been more resilient this year than imports into Europe from Russia, which are around 22% lower year on year.

Price is no longer affecting Norwegian operators' decisions on holding back production, with the TTF day-ahead price now trading higher than Eur13/MWh, well above the short-run marginal cost of Norwegian gas production of around Eur4/MWh.

State-controlled Equinor deferred significant volumes from its swing fields such as Troll in the second quarter on historically low prices, the TTF day-ahead price dipping to just Eur3.10/MWh on May 22, according to Platts price assessments.

Dutch jump

Recent price movements have caused a change in flow dynamics between the Netherlands and Germany, however, with Dutch supplies hitting a two-year high and German imports a near one-year low.

The TTF day-ahead price averaged Eur11.05/MWh in September, according to Platts assessments.

That was a premium of more than Eur0.20/MWh to the corresponding price at the German NCG hub. This meant more Norwegian flows were diverted to the Netherlands than to Germany, with total Dutch supplies rising by 10% month on month to 2.3 Bcm, the highest Norwegian exports to the Netherlands since September 2018. German imports fell by 22% to 1.65 Bcm, the lowest since October 2019.

For much of 2020, Germany has imported more Norwegian gas than the Netherlands, but the TTF price increase due to low LNG supply and high injection rates in the Netherlands caused the trend to reverse.

Norwegian flows to the UK stayed low in August at 1.49 Bcm. UK supplies have been below 1.5 Bcm every month since April.

Exports to France dropped in September by 18% month on month to 1.11 Bcm, while supplies landing in Belgium dropped 6% to 1.12 Bcm.

Norwegian supplies to Europe in October are likely to be hampered by a strike which has caused Equinor to close a number of fields since the start of the month.

In addition, the Equinor-operated Hammerfest LNG plant remains closed after a fire on Sept. 28, with the company saying it was unclear when it would be able to resume operations.