Over August, all five countries in the Baumgarten region experienced warmer weather than last year, although last year was unusually cool compared to the seasonal norm.
In August, the Baumgarten region injected a net 4.2 bcm of gas into storage, leaving total stocks at 18.3 bcm as of 1 September. All countries made higher y/y injections into storage, with the whole region injecting a sizeable 1.5 bcm more y/y. With total stocks 1.6 bcm (8%) lower than last year, the acceleration in storage injections should persist through September.
Feeding those injections was a 3.3 bcm (31% y/y) rise in gas imports from Russia in August. Flows into the Baumgarten hub generally increased, with flows via Slovakia, Hungary and Romania all growing y/y. The only country to see a fall in Russian volumes was Poland, which took 2.96 bcm of Russian gas, 0.29 bcm (9%) less y/y.
Slovakia imported a net 0.61 bcm of gas in August, up y/y by 0.23 bcm (61%). Net imports from Russia, via Ukraine, increased sharply y/y by 1.39 bcm (44%) to 4.55 bcm. Exports to Ukraine as reverse flow via the Budince transit point stood at 0.73 bcm, down y/y by 0.47 bcm (39%). This was the first y/y decline in reverse flows since July 2016.
In August, net Polish gas imports totalled 1.09 bcm, 20 mcm (19%) higher than last August’s volumes. While imports from the east declined, exports to Germany also declined leaving net imports higher. Polish production continued its steady decline in August, albeit from low levels.
AU-VTP D+1 prices increased from 15.7 €/MWh at the start of August to over 17 €/MWh towards the end of the month. M+1 prices also increased, closing the month 8% higher at 17.2 €/MWh from the start of the month. Baumgarten largely followed the other major European hubs (i.e. NBP, TTF) upwards thanks to support from Norwegian outages, the impact of French nuclear outages, and the acceleration of storage injections. Baumgarten should retain its premium to the TTF going forward, especially as the winter approaches.
Central European weather is forecast to be broadly cooler than normal over the next two weeks. Longer-term forecasts from the IRI show equal probability of Central Eastern Europe being warmer, cooler, or around the seasonal norm over the September to November period.