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Barcelona — French gas supplies by pipeline to Spain doubled year on year in August to a record high on strong CCGT demand and a widening cross-border price spread between the countries, data from Spanish grid operator Enagas showed.

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Delivered volume across the border was 4.5 TWh (428 million cu m) in August, up from 2.3 TWh a year before, Enagas data published Wednesday showed.

Gas demand for power generation has increased 95% so far this year to 73.1 TWh, driving overall demand up 16% year on year to 263.1 TWh.

Supplies from France have also been driven by the France-Spain price spread widening considerably, following the merger of the French PEG Nord and Sud zones in November last year.

The Spanish Mibgas day-ahead price averaged Eur11.973/MWh in August, with the unified PEG market at Eur10.177/MWh.

For August 2018, the Mibgas day-ahead price averaged Eur26.339/MWh, according to exchange data. This compared with monthly average prices of Eur26.559/MWh on the PEG Sud and Eur23.397/MWh on the PEG Nord, S&P Global Platts data show.

With this change in cross-border dynamics and competitive international LNG prices, pipeline volume from Algeria to Spain slipped 46% in August, reducing Algerian piped gas' share of supply to 20% from 46% in August 2018.

Overall, import volumes in August were nonetheless higher than nominations, as internal demand grew more than expected.

Imported pipeline volumes were 11.9 TWh in August compared with nominated volume of 10.9 TWh, with total gas demand around 3 TWh higher than expected at 34.3 TWh.

Demand for gas-fired plants surpassed a bullish forecast for August, rising 140% to 14.9 TWh, having been expected to double year on year to 12.5 TWh.

LNG IMPORTS, STORAGE AUCTIONS

The extra demand was largely met by a 75% year-on-year rise in LNG imports, with supplies from Russia, Qatar and Nigeria increasing.

Russian volumes remained strong after a record in July at 5.4 TWh in August, and Qatari volumes shipments also remained high, up 129% year on year to 7.3 TWh. By contrast, US LNG imports slipped after a record first half of the year, with arbitrage opportunities luring volumes to Asia.

With the robust uptick in supplies to the Spanish market, Enagas said Monday it would hold a fourth round of extraordinary auctions for gas storage capacity.

The company will hold three auctions in September to assign October injection capacity. They will take place on September 16, September 23 and September 30.

The amount to be auctioned will be 718 GWh.

This followed placements of nearly 9 TWh in the previous three months, including 5.2 TWh in August for September injection capacity.

The estimated maximum filling level is estimated at the end of the injection period at 30.946 TWh, Enagas said, taking into account stocks held in underground storage and available technical capacity of injection.

This is equivalent to 93% of Spain's maximum storage capacity of 33.2 TWh.

-- Gianluca Baratti, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by James Burgess, james.burgess@spglobal.com