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Analysis: Norway's gas exports to Europe collapse to 15-year low

Highlights

Total gas pipeline deliveries slumped to 4.59 Bcm last month

Heavy maintenance through September hit supplies

Signs of continued commercial turndown at giant Troll field

London — Norwegian pipeline gas supplies to Europe last month collapsed to lows not seen for 15 years as a heavy maintenance schedule and significant commercial turndown on low European gas prices impacted flows.

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Exports to the UK and Continental Europe totaled just 4.59 Bcm in September, the lowest monthly volume since August 2004, according to data from S&P Global Platts Analytics and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

Exports in September averaged just 153 million cu m/d -- compared with the NCS' capacity of close to 350 million cu m/d -- with supplies also down 42% year on year, the Platts Analytics data showed.

Planned maintenance -- including at the giant Troll field and the Kollsnes processing plant through much of September -- took up to 150 million cu m/d out, while additional commercial turndown at Troll was estimated by Platts at some 40 million cu m/d.

Other key fields on the NCS -- including Visund, Oseberg, Sleipner, Kvitebjorn, Gina Krog, Ormen Lange and Aasta Hansteen -- were also shut in for planned annual maintenance through the month, while unplanned outages also hit the Gullfaks and Asgard fields.

OCTOBER VOLUMES

October has been spared from any significant scheduled maintenance, though exports are still running below capacity due to unplanned outages across several NCS assets and with Platts Analytics expecting continued commercial turndown at Troll of as high as 40 million cu m/d through the month.

"Pipeline supply uncertainty in Q4 2019 is centered on Norway, which could continue to defer flexible production in October, and even November," it said.

The fall in deliveries from Norway in September came as European gas prices remained at 10-year lows, with the Dutch TTF day-ahead price as assessed by S&P Global Platts averaging just Eur9.72/MWh.

TTF prices for next summer are currently trading at some Eur16.40 MWh, a significant premium and seemingly worth deferring production for.

YEAR TO DATE

The collapse in supplies in September means Norwegian gas exports are now well down on the past two high-volume years.

In the year to date, exports have totaled 75.3 Bcm -- more than 5 Bcm down on 2018 and more than 7 Bcm down on the record year of 2017.

The outages in September affected flows to all of Europe, but the UK in particular, with exports at a nine-year low of just 0.69 Bcm -- the lowest volume since September 2010.

Norwegian gas supplies to Germany in dropped by 52% to 0.78 Bcm, while flows to the Netherlands were down 32% at 1.6 Bcm.

Deliveries to Belgium and France were down by 35% and 40%, respectively.

NORWEGIAN GAS DELIVERIES SLUMP IN SEPTEMBER (BCM)

Sep-18 Sep-19 % change
UK 1.51 0.69 -54.3
Netherlands 2.34 1.6 -31.6
Germany 1.61 0.78 -51.6
France 1.29 0.78 -39.5
Belgium 1.14 0.74 -35.1
Total 7.89 4.59 -41.8

Source: S&P Global Platts Analytics

-- Stuart Elliott, Stuart.Elliott@spglobal.com

-- Edited by James Leech, james.leech@spglobal.com