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Market Movers Europe, Aug 24-28: Energy and commodity markets brace for September; Europe burns gas to stay cool

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Watch: Market Movers Europe, Aug 24-28: Energy and commodity markets brace for September; Europe burns gas to stay cool

In this week's highlights: Lukoil may detail OPEC+ and coronavirus impact; gas-fired power generation rises with the mercury; where next for carbon prices after their return to pre-pandemic levels? And key contract price talks loom the petrochemicals market.

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In this week's highlights: Gas-fired power generation rises with the mercury; where next for carbon prices after their return to pre-pandemic levels? And key contract price talks loom the petrochemicals market.

But first, Russia's second largest crude producer, Lukoil, is set to release its second quarter and first-half results Thursday. The company said earlier that its second-quarter oil output was down 11.6% on the year as deeper OPEC+ cuts hit production in May and June. Management are likely to field questions on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, OPEC+ cuts, and taxation during a conference call on the results.

Elsewhere in the CIS, civil unrest continues in Belarus, where the Naftan and Mozyr refineries have joined national strikes, and any leadership changes could affect terms and flows of Russian oil and gas exports to Europe.

And that takes us to our social media question for the week: How do you think events in Belarus will affect energy trade between Russia and Europe? Tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #PlattsMM.

And let's stay with European gas where there will be a power struggle of a different kind. Fluctuations in demand from the electricity sector will be driving prices as power consumption for cooling grows with temperatures soaring to over 10 degrees Celsius above average.

So far in August, Northwest European, non-household gas demand has averaged around 230 million cubic meters a day. This is the highest for an August in at least four years, according to data from S&P Global Platts Analytics.

Above-average temperatures are forecast in both Northwest and Southern Europe until at least the start of September, which is likely to support gas-fired power generation for the rest of August.

And while we're on the subject of hot air, EU carbon allowance prices have held above 25 euros a metric ton in August, after easing off a 14-year high of over 30 euros in July, as you can see in this chart.

The market will be watching this week to see if prices can hold firm. Dramatic gains since a March crash to 15 euros a metric ton have taken prices back above their pre-coronavirus trading range, supported by an expected increase in the EU's 2030 emissions reduction target due in September, which will tighten supply after 2021.

However, carbon prices may come under pressure as September approaches, with monthly auction volumes set to rebound to over 86 million metric tons, compared with just 37.5 million in August.

And finally, the petrochemical sector will be cautious ahead of the September European ethylene and propylene contract price talks later this week. September is seen as a defining month for the petrochemicals market ahead of the fourth quarter.

Rising coronavirus cases in Europe have increased economic uncertainty and made it hard to predict September demand for major plastics.

After a period of high demand from packaging and medical applications during the peak of the pandemic, demand for both polyethylene and polypropylene remains contingent on continued economic recovery after the summer.

To stay in touch with all the issues affecting commodity markets from 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!