MOSCOW, August 26 – PRIME. Gas futures prices in Europe on Friday for the first time since March exceed $3,500 per thousand cubic meters, according to data from the London-based ICE exchange.
The nearest futures (according to the index of the largest European hub TTF) opened trading at the level of 3213.2 dollars per thousand cubic meters (-2.3%). But as of 17.39 Moscow time, prices are already growing by 6.6%, amounting to $3,507.7 per thousand cubic meters. The dynamics of quotations is based on the settlement price of the previous day – $ 3,290.2 per thousand cubic meters, which has become a record for the entire period of operation of gas hubs in Europe – since 1996.
In early March, gas prices in Europe, due to fears of a ban on the import of Russian energy resources, updated their historical highs for four days in a row. The price record of $3,892 per thousand cubic meters was reached on March 7.
The latest rise in prices on European gas markets is due to the uncertainty regarding gas supplies. Earlier, Gazprom announced that Nord Stream would stop for three days, from August 31 to September 2, due to scheduled maintenance of the only working gas pumping unit at the Portovaya compressor station. Futures contracts for the supply of gas in September (under TTF) after this news jumped on Friday evening by almost 8%, above $2,700 per thousand cubic meters, and the day before they overcame the mark of $3,300.
But a significant increase in the cost of gas in Europe began last spring, when the average spot price on the TTF hub index fluctuated in the range of $250-300 per thousand cubic meters. At the end of the summer, the value of a contract with a “day ahead” delivery exceeded $600, and in early October it was already $1,000.
Experts attributed the rise in prices to several factors: high demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Asia, limited supply from major suppliers, and low filling levels in European underground storage facilities after long cold winters and hot summers.