Below-average temperatures bolstered gas demand across the Baumgarten region last month, supporting a stronger stockdraw y/y despite brisk Russian supply into the region.
HDDs in the region were 17–35% higher y/y and averaged 25% above the past five-year average, pushing demand higher y/y in each country. Austrian demand grew by 10% y/y to hit 1.0 bcm, Czech demand rose by 0.12 bcm (12%) y/y to 1.1 bcm, and implied demand in Hungary grew by a considerable 0.31 bcm (22%) y/y to 1.7 bcm.
Russian flows into Europe rebounded y/y in February as customers turned up nominations following a mild January. Total Russian supply to Europe was a touch lower m/m but up by 3% y/y (0.4 bcm) at 12.6 bcm. Most of that supply was routed into Germany via Nord Stream, while flows transiting Ukraine into Slovakia and Hungary eased y/y. Nord Stream flows were up by almost 1 bcm (27%) y/y at 4.55 bcm, supporting a 0.5 bcm (18%) y/y rise in gross German exports into the Czech Republic to 3.3 bcm. Czech flows into Slovakia rose by a chunky 0.65 bcm y/y to 0.74 bcm last month, and the Czech Republic continued to make small but steady exports into Poland. Poland has been importing from the Czech Republic every month since October 2017, helping partially offset a slowdown in its take of Russian gas via Belarus. Hungary’s gross take of Russian gas transiting via Ukraine fell by a considerable 0.19 bcm (21%) y/y to 0.74 bcm last month. Gross Hungarian exports into Ukraine also eased y/y. Hungary’s net take of Russian gas via Ukraine finished the month down by 0.18 bcm (21%) y/y at 0.66 bcm.
In terms of LNG, port receipts into Poland were almost unchanged y/y at 0.09 Mt, according to Kpler data, but sendout into the Polish system increased by 20 mcm (12%) y/y to 0.14 bcm. Lithuania received no commercial cargoes last month, down from just 0.03 Mt in February 2017.
Storage withdrawals in the Baumgarten zone were 4.5 bcm in February, some 1.7 bcm higher y/y. That said, the region began the month with a 3.1 bcm storage surplus, leaving Baumgarten stocks in early March up by 1.1 bcm y/y.
The TTF-AVTP D+1 basis averaged +53 cents/MWh last month, compared with -58 cents/MWh the same time last year. A tighter Groningen cap has left Dutch production much lower y/y—even on days of extreme cold—pushing TTF prices to a premium to the AVTP.
March weather in the Baumgarten zone is forecast to be seasonally mild but colder y/y, which suggests the y/y storage surplus could shrink further by the end of March, or turn into a deficit.