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Market Movers Europe, Feb 22-26: Platts London Energy Forum and IP Week at the fore

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Watch: Market Movers Europe, Feb 22-26: Platts London Energy Forum and IP Week at the fore

In this week's highlights: the S&P Global Platts London Energy Forum and IP week are set to dominate, ahead of the OPEC+ meeting; LNG deliveries into Europe are set to pick up; and storms in the US Gulf create uncertainty over European petrochemical imports.

Platts Forum, IP Week to dominate, ahead of OPEC+ meeting

LNG deliveries into Europe to pick up

Respite for power traders

Uncertainty in petrochemicals imports due to weather

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal to restart blast furnace

View Full Transcript

In this week's highlights: the S&P Global Platts London Energy Forum and IP week are set to dominate, ahead of the OPEC+ meeting; LNG deliveries into Europe are set to pick up; and storms in the US Gulf create uncertainty over European petrochemical imports.

But first, in oil, two major industry events this week will assess the market's recovery so far and the wider energy transition away from fossil fuels. The Platts London Energy Forum takes place today and the IP Week conference gets underway Tuesday. Platts will be providing an update on its groundbreaking proposal to incorporate WTI Midland crude exports to Europe within the Dated Brent benchmark. IP Week features top representatives from a range of global oil and gas companies.

As ever, we're keeping a close eye on some fundamentals, including the recovery from last week's disastrous cold snap in Texas, the easing of lockdowns in Europe, and of course the OPEC+ producer alliance, which is gearing up for its next meeting in just over a week, on March 4. With prices buoyant in recent weeks, the voices inside OPEC+ calling for quotas to be eased will surely become more insistent.

We're also expecting a smattering of industry updates this week, including annual press briefings from Germany's Wintershall DEA and the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, taking place Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

And that takes us to our social media question for the week: What were the highlights of the Platts London Energy Forum for you? Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #PlattsMM.

After months in which the European gas market has seen fairly scarce LNG arrivals, cargo deliveries are set to pick up as the Asian LNG price premium continues to erode. The extreme cold experienced in Asia at the start of 2021 saw the JKM spot Asian LNG price hit an all-time high in mid-January, pulling most available LNG to Asian markets. But prices have since come off, with the cross basin JKM-TTF month-ahead spread having narrowed, thereby keeping US cargoes within the basin. As a result, Platts Analytics expects a further build in LNG cargo deliveries into Europe in the coming weeks.

Power traders meanwhile are hoping for a more restful week after a rollercoaster start to the year. Rising temperatures in Western Europe have taken much of the bounce out of spot power prices, with French power demand forecast some 20 gigawatts lower this week than during the cold snap in Week 5.

The arrival of spring-like temperatures has eased pressure on France's vast nuclear fleet, which is still materially below normal availability due to early maintenance. French reactors have started 2021 maintenance early after record-lows in 2020.

European petrochemical market participants are closely watching developments in the US Gulf Coast area, as concerns over potential disruptions to US-Europe trade flows mount. Of particular concern is monoethylene glycol, which is used for the production of polyethylene terephthalate for beverage bottles and also anti-freeze. The US is an important European supplier and European MEG prices have been rising in recent days. For material moving the other way, European traders are looking closely for signs of supply imbalances this week in the European benzene export market.

And finally, the world's largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, is torestart its blast furnace number 2 in Ghent, Belgium, after a few delays due to the bad weather. As soon as the blast furnace is fully operational, ArcelorMittal will be back to pre-COVID-19 production levels. Furnaces that were idle in France, Spain, Germany and Italy in response to the pandemic are now all back online.

For more on all of the issues affecting commodity markets wherever you are, make sure to check out Platts LIVE at the address displayed on your screen.

Thanks for kicking off your Monday with us and have a great week ahead!