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Watch: Market Movers Europe, Mar 7-11: Ukraine invasion roils markets

  • Featuring
  • Kira Savcenko
  • Commodity
  • Energy Electric Power LNG Natural Gas Oil Shipping
  • Topic
  • Europe Energy Price Crisis OPEC+ Oil Output Cuts War in Ukraine Iran Sanctions

Volatility and uncertainty are set to dominate again this week as the Ukraine crisis continues to send shockwaves through commodities markets.

  • Price volatility continues in gas (00:09)
  • Atomic agency strives to access Ukraine sites (01:08)
  • Buyers shun Russian oil despite no sanctions (01:48)
  • High premiums for loading in Baltic, Black sea (02:23)
  • Iran negotiations continue (02:58)
  • European energy resilience in focus (03:57)
View Full Transcript

Volatility and uncertainty are set to dominate again this week as the Ukraine crisis continues to send shockwaves through commodities markets.

We'll start with gas, where the unprecedented volatility is expected to continue, with huge intraday price movements as traders try to keep up with the rapidly changing market conditions and the situation on the ground in Ukraine.

All eyes are still on Russian gas flows via Ukraine, which continue unaffected by Russia's military offensive for now and are currently at the maximum daily rate under Gazprom's five-year transit deal with Kyiv.

The situation remains very fluid, however, with shelling hitting some gas infrastructure in eastern Ukraine last week, albeit well away from the main gas trunklines.

In the meantime, European buyers have said they will continue importing Russian gas under long-term contracts -- prioritizing supply security for their own customers -- despite growing calls for a full European embargo on Russian gas.

Notably, Germany has ruled out any ban on Russian gas. But there is increasing pressure for the EU to consider sanctions against the operational Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

In power, the International Atomic Energy Agency will be striving this week to advance plans to gain access to nuclear power sites in Ukraine to help ensure the safe operation of the country's 15 reactors. How long this takes in a war zone is a question of deep concern after Russian troops first shelled then took control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant last week. The site not only comprises six reactors, it also hosts a spent nuclear fuel storage facility.

Meanwhile the European Commission is to propose measures to shield energy consumers from rising bills this week, potentially approving claw back taxes on non-gas-based generators.

In oil, the focus is on the developing picture around moves to isolate Moscow, along with the price surge this has triggered.

Buyers have been shunning Russia's flagship export crude, Urals, amid the uncertainty, with discounts for the grade ballooning to more than $27 per barrel compared with Platts Dated Brent benchmark as of Friday as more volatility is expected.

And that takes us to our social media question for the week: Should energy purchases of Russian oil or gas by European traders be subject to sanctions? Tweet us your thoughts.

Premiums for loading in the Baltic and Black Sea are expected to stay strong, with shipowners requiring heavy compensation for engaging in that trade. That said, the spike observed in other markets such as the Med and West Africa, not directly affected by Ukraine's invasion, was sentiment driven, with rates expected to soften further this week.

We should expect to see a two-tier market, with freight for calling at Russian ports being priced considerably higher compared to other regions.

Things could get more difficult still, as markets await an EU decision on a possible ban on Russian ships berthing at its ports.

We are also keeping a close eye on negotiations in Vienna between Iran and Western governments that could lead to a nuclear deal to lift sanctions, allowing more Iranian crude into the market. Now the deal hangs in the balance, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded over the weekend guarantees that sanctions recently imposed on Russia would not impede the country's trade with Tehran.

But with OPEC+ sticking to its planned incremental easing of output cuts, there are growing expectations of further strategic stock releases by governments, following the March 1 announcement of an initial 60-million-barrel release by International Energy Agency members.

Surging global prices are changing the calculus for oil producers everywhere, including US shale producers that have the flexibility to react quickly and potentially ease market tightness. We're hearing talk of companies like Pioneer Natural Resources in Texas accelerating their drilling plans, as shale rig numbers rise.

Closer to the physical conflict in Ukraine, and with ever-present worries over pipeline security, we're reporting on a renewed effort to improve Europe's energy resilience, encompassing not only renewables, but potentially also renewed reliance on oil in power generation, and interest in boosting production around the North Sea.

The Platts Atlas of Energy Transition is your map to the sustainable commodity markets of the future. You can explore the Atlas by visiting the address displayed on your screen.

Thanks for kicking off your Monday with S&P Global Commodity Insights!