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Spanish cold snap notice extended as temperature hits record low

Highlights

Enagas sees cold lasting to at least Jan. 14

LNG cargo diversions ordered

Low of minus 34.1 C recorded Jan. 6

Barcelona — Low temperatures in Spain are expected to last through to around Jan. 14, Spanish gas grid operator Enagas estimates, as it extended a "cold snap" window amid low temperatures, which saw a record low of minus 34.1 degrees Celsius on Jan. 6.

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Enagas expects a spike in gas demand of around 3.45 TWh over normal levels for Jan. 1 through Jan. 14 as a result of the cold weather.

The company initially announced a "cold snap" for Jan. 1-7, with an expected 700 GWh hike in demand. This followed a previous three-day "cold snap" from Dec. 25-27.

In Spain a cold snap is announced when temperatures reach between 5 and 7 degrees C below normal levels. In such a situation, LNG re-exports can be restricted or occasionally rerouted to help meet regional demand.

Enagas ordered the re-routing of a Mugardos-bound LNG cargo unloading for Jan. 7 to deliver its 950 GWh load to Bilbao instead after one shipper canceled a 1.05 TWh delivery to Bilbao for the same day.

To compensate, a Bilbao-bound delivery on Jan. 22 with 950 GWh will instead unload at Mugardos on Jan. 21, Enagas said.

Spanish temperatures hit an unofficial minimum of as low as minus 34.1 degrees C in the Pyrenees mountains Jan. 6, potentially beating the previous record low of minus 32 C from 1956.

So far during the cold snap, Enagas has seen around 1 TWh of excess demand, it estimates, with the variation widening particularly between Jan.11 and Jan. 14 with a daily deviation of an average of 372 GWh per day from normal values. The company's forecasts show that a further extension of the cold snap beyond Jan. 14 is probable.

In response to the cold snap, Spanish gas prices leapt 22% to Eur38.90/MWh for Jan. 7 and at 0900 GMT were seen fairly steady at Eur38.70/MWh for Jan. 8 on the MIBGAS exchange. The weekend was quoted at Eur36.00/MWh and balance of month at Eur33.00/MWh, Eur8.20/MWh above February gas.

The levels are the highest since January 2017, when day-ahead gas peaked at Eur43.00/MWh on Jan. 23, according to MIBGAS records.

The soaring gas price has also spilled into the power market, with the OMIE exchange spiking to Eur108.97/MWh in hour 20 Jan. 7 -- the highest level since 2014, and nearly double the peak price on the same day last year.