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UK natural gas: NBP spot steady on high demand, prompt falls


UK gas demand due at 309 million cu m Wednesday

Demand set to rise to 330 million cu m Thursday

Prompt extends losses on January forecasts

NBP spot natural gas contracts found support from high demand for the time of year Wednesday morning, with contracts for 2018 delivery extending the pre-Christmas downward trend on mild forecasts.

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National Grid forecasts showed demand hitting 309 million cu m on Wednesday before increasing to 330 million cu m Thursday then dropping to 320 million cu m Friday, compared to the seasonal average of 295 million cu m.

But the system was balanced at 10:00 am, with physical flows running at 308 million cu m/d despite no withdrawals seen from medium-range storage reservoirs.

The within-day and day-ahead contracts were trading at 55.50 pence/therm and 55.30 p/th respectively Wednesday morning, both broadly in line with the day-ahead assessment of 55.50 p/th from last Friday.

There were strong flows from the Norwegian Continental Shelf Wednesday morning, at 136 million cu m/d according to Norwegian gas operator Gassco.

UK Continental Shelf production was due to be boosted by the partial restart of oil and gas flows through the Forties Pipeline System on Tuesday afternoon according to Ineos, with gas production at both the Elgin Franklin field and Greater Britannia Area restarting as a result.

But the restart of flows via the North Morecambe sub-terminal was delayed over the Christmas period, with flows now expected to restart at the beginning of Thursday's gas day, according to operator Centrica.

Imports from Belgium through the Interconnector were nominated at 61 million cu m Wednesday according to IUK 10:00 am figures, with flows from the Netherlands via the BBL pipeline running at 20 million cu m/d Wednesday morning.

Production from the Rough reservoir was running at 8 million cu m/d Wednesday morning, with LNG regasification from South Hook at 5 million cu m/d.

On the NBP prompt, the front-month January contract was trading at 55.25 p/th Wednesday morning, well below the previous assessment of 56.65 p/th, with the UK's Met Office forecasting temperatures in January around the seasonal average.