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UK wholesale natural gas prices bullish on weaker Norwegian flows, Brent

London — * UK gas system 4 million cu m long at 10 am
* Norwegian flows fall, withdrawals increase
* Day-ahead climbs 0.825 pence/therm to 42.35 p/th

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UK wholesale natural gas prices rose in value during early Wednesday trade as the UK gas system tightened due to a fall in Norwegian gas receipts with further support offered by higher Brent crude pricing.

National Grid 10 am figures, nonetheless, showed the UK gas system long by 4 million cu m, as physical flows of 246 million cu m/d were ahead of demand forecasts of 242 million cu m.

National Grid forecast demand to rise to 261 million cu m Thursday and to 262 million cu m Friday, further boosting the NBP spot.

Within-day and day-ahead were seen trading at 42.10 pence/therm and 42.35 p/th, respectively, Wednesday morning, higher than the day-ahead assessment from Tuesday of 41.525 p/th.

Norwegian gas flows into the UK National Transmission System were running at 95 million cu m/d, according to Norwegian gas operator Gassco, split between Easington and St. Fergus at 63 million cu m/d and 32 million cu m/d, respectively, accelerating the recent shift in larger exports into Continental Europe.

On the back of the lower Norwegian flows, withdrawals from storage picked up in pace, with Rough at 10 million cu m/d and Holford at 6 million cu m/d Wednesday morning.

UK gas production nominations for Wednesday were 106 million cu m, according to Platts Analytics' Eclipse Energy.

LNG regasification was steady day on day with South Hook and Dragon at 24 million cu m/d and 3 million cu m/d, respectively.

Exports to Belgium were due to fall, with IUK 10 am export nominations at 14 million cu m.

Further support for longer-term NBP contracts came from a rise in Brent crude pricing, with front-month April climbing to trade at 42.60 p/th, 0.825 p/th higher than the previous close.