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UK wholesale natural gas prices firm on European weather, Rough outage

London — UK wholesale natural gas prices continued their recent bullish trend early Thursday, despite a long gas system, as weaker imports from Continental Europe and further Rough maintenance boosted the near-term NBP.

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The UK gas system was well supplied, as physical flows of 351 million cu m/d were ahead of demand forecasts for Thursday of 340 million cu m.

Within-day and day-ahead were seen trading at 54.50 pence/therm and 54.40p/th respectively in early exchanges -- the day-ahead contract was assessed at53.675 p/th Wednesday.

Imports from Continental Europe were set to fall on the day with firm demand for gas across the Channel on weak LNG regasification and colderweather.

IUK 10:00 am import nominations were 11 million cu m, well down on the levels recorded during the beginning of January, and BBL imports were running at 18 million cu m/d.

In addition, withdrawals from the long-range Rough reservoir were down to15 million cu m/d on further maintenance work affecting withdrawal capacitythat began 08:00 am Thursday.

Withdrawal capacity from Rough would be limited to 238 GWh/d (22.5 million cu m/d) until 13:00 Thursday and to 106 GWh/d from 13:00 Thursday to 03:00 am Friday according to owner-operator Centrica Storage Ltd.

To cover the losses, medium-range withdrawals picked up in pace, running at a combined 42 million cu m/d Thursday morning.

Elsewhere, Norwegian gas imports were flowing at 139 million cu m/d Thursday morning according to Norwegian gas operator Gassco.

South Hook LNG regasification was unchanged on the day at 5 million cu m/d. The Qatari Al Samriya LNG tanker is a potential arrival early February.

Contracts gapped higher on the NBP curve as concerns over storage levels in both the UK and Continental Europe crept in. Front-month February was done at 54.40 p/th, 0.90 p/th higher than the previous close.