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Gazprom begins implementing plan for gas injection into five European storage sites


Routes, volumes determined for November injections

Gazprom completed domestic storage program on Nov 8

Company's European stocks currently at low level

  • Author
  • Stuart Elliott
  • Editor
  • Daniel Lalor
  • Commodity
  • Natural Gas

Russia's state-controlled Gazprom said Nov. 9 it had started to implement a plan for gas injection this month into five of its European storage facilities.

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In a brief statement, Gazprom also said it had decided on how much gas to put into its storage sites this month and how the gas would reach the facilities.

"Gazprom approved and began implementing the plan for gas injection into five European underground gas storage facilities for November," it said.

"The volumes and routes of gas transportation have been determined."

European gas prices have remained high through October and November, in part due to lower-than-expected imports from Russia and low levels of EU storage, especially in Gazprom-owned sites such as Rehden in Germany and Haidach in Austria.

S&P Global Platts assessed the benchmark TTF day-ahead price at a record high of Eur116.10/MWh ($134/MWh) on Oct. 5, with price volatility continuing through October and into November.

The TTF day-ahead price was assessed at Eur77.43/MWh on Nov. 8, up 480% from a year ago.

On Oct. 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Gazprom to start refilling its gas storage sites in Germany and Austria as soon as it had completed injecting gas into domestic gas storage sites.

Gazprom said at the time that domestic storage injections would continue until Nov. 8.

European stocks

Gazprom's own stocks in Europe have fallen to very low levels, which has brought down overall gas storage levels in Europe more generally and added to winter supply concerns.

Gazprom has capacity in a number of sites in Europe, notably Rehden and Katharina in Germany, and Haidach in Austria. Rehden was just 9.6% full as of Nov. 7, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe data, while Haidach was just 2% full.

Asked about the storage levels at Gazprom's sites in Germany and Austria, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on Oct. 27 that the volume was "insignificant -- literally very, very small."

As well as Rehden, Katharina and Haidach, Gazprom also has access to working gas capacities at Jemgum and Etzel in Germany, Bergermeer in the Netherlands, Banatski Dvor in Serbia, and Damborice in the Czech Republic.

It was not immediately clear which five European sites will be targeted by Gazprom.

However, Putin's remarks were specifically for sites in Germany and Austria, which implies the sites to be restocked will be Rehden, Katharina, Haidach, Jemgum, and Etzel.

Gazprom has been criticized for allowing its gas stocks in its European sites to sit close to empty, which has brought down overall gas storage levels in Europe generally.

According to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe, the EU's gas storage sites were just 75% full as of Nov. 7.

Market reassurance

S&P Global Platts Analytics believes a restocking by Gazprom would likely bring some relief to European gas markets, but would not be enough to boost stocks back to last year's levels.

"Any refilling through November will help reassure the market ahead of the peak demand season, but is unlikely to significantly reduce the year-on-year deficit that has accumulated over 2021," it said Nov. 9.

The current 75% level of stock filledness compares with 94% at the same time last year.

Platts Analytics also believes Russian gas flows into northwest Europe will rise through November.

"We currently forecast 125 million cu m/d on average to go to northwest Europe in November, but so far these flows have averaged just 111 million cu m/d," it said.

However, it said, even at 125 million cu m/d, Russian flows would still be almost 80 million cu m/d below the five-year average.