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European gas prices on the rise

Prices for natural gas in Europe pushed higher on Tuesday after seven sessions of declines, as Russian supplies via Ukraine are expected to drop.

Orders have reportedly decreased to some 68% of the amount that Russian energy giant Gazprom is capable of sending under the current transit contract. Gazprom reiterated that gas flows were in line with requests from customers. As of April 12, requests reportedly stood at 74.5 million cubic meters. Meanwhile, supplies through Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline were near full capacity.

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In the Dutch market, the contract for May delivery at the TTF hub rose as much as 3.9%, and were 2.8% higher at 102.91 euros per megawatt-hour as of 10:35am in Amsterdam. In the British gas market, the within-day contract gained 3.5% to 220.51 pence a therm.

Reversed Russian gas flows by means of the Yamal-Europe pipeline via the Mallnow metering point from Germany to Poland grew on Tuesday, while nominations for deliveries to Slovakia via Ukraine fell, in line with nominations.

READ MORE: No alternative to Russian oil – OPEC

Shipments of Russian gas haven’t been affected by the Ukraine-related crisis so far, even increasing over pre-conflict levels. However, the supplies have been under mounting pressure as importers within and outside the EU are pushing for stronger action on Russian energy purchases, scouring the world for alternative suppliers.

European near-term gas prices currently reflect a 20-40% premium because of a risk of disruptions, according to Morgan Stanley’s Europe gas strategist Martijn Rats, as quoted by Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, the latest stand-off between EU member states and Russia over Moscow’s demand for gas payments in rubles has raised concerns that Russian supplies will be halted from April 20, when contract payments are due.

“Both physical and paper-only market participants will be very cautious in taking positions, and as a result big price volatility is likely to remain the order of the day,” analysts at Axpo said, in a report seen by Reuters.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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