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Analysis: Norway's gas exports to Europe slump to three-year low in August

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Total gas pipeline deliveries dropped to 7.13 Bcm last month

Heavy maintenance in late August hit supplies, mostly to UK

Also signs of continued commercial turndown at giant Troll field

London — Norwegian pipeline gas supplies to Europe last month slumped to a three-year low of just 7.13 Bcm, S&P Global Platts Analytics data showed Wednesday, as heavy summer maintenance at key assets drove down exports.

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The planned maintenance at the giant Troll field and the Kollsnes processing plant in the last week of August followed a continued commercial turndown at Troll earlier in the month due to low prices.

In addition, exports were affected by unplanned outages across the NCS -- including at the major Aasta Hansteen field and the continued outage at the Nyhamna processing plant.

August exports represented the lowest monthly volume since September 2016 when exports were 5.53 Bcm.

As much as 160 million cu m/d of export capacity was curtailed on August 24 -- with the Kollsnes outage set to reduce the plant's capacity by 147 million cu m/d, according to Norwegian grid operator Gassco.

Troll -- which feeds into Kollsnes -- had its production capacity reduced by 120 million cu m/d.

NEW SEPTEMBER WORK

The bulk of the maintenance is due to end on Thursday, though Troll will continue on maintenance with a reduced impact of 43 million cu m/d until October 9.

A number of other NCS fields will be on maintenance this week, including Visund, Oseberg, Sleipner, Kvitebjorn, Gina Krog, Gullfaks, Ormen Lange and Aasta Hansteen.

The total volume impact will be between 120 million cu m/d and 150 million cu m/d through the next seven days.

"Significant disruptions to NCS supply are expected until the end of September," Platts Analytics said.

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The fall in deliveries from Norway comes as European gas prices have fallen to 10-year lows, with the Dutch TTF day-ahead price assessed by S&P Global Platts Tuesday at just Eur7.525/MWh.

YEAR TO DATE

It means Norwegian gas exports are now well down on the past two high-volume years.

In the year to date, exports have totaled 70.73 Bcm -- 2 Bcm down on 2018 and almost 4 Bcm down on the record yearof 2017.

With heavy maintenance expected through September, supplies are unlikely to match the volume from either of the past two years.

The outages in August affected flows to the UK in particular, with exports at a five-year low of just 1.22 Bcm -- the lowest volume since August 2014.

Norwegian gas supplies to Germany in August dropped 22% to 1.54 Bcm, while flows to the Netherlands were down 17% at 2.07 Bcm.

Deliveries to Belgium fell 16% year on year to 1.06 Bcm, while supplies to France rose slightly to 1.25 Bcm.

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

-- Edited by Jonathan Fox, jonathan.fox@spglobal.com