Mild weather across most of Europe and high renewable and hydro generation cut gas demand in April, while strong Russian flows offset lower Dutch and Norwegian supply, helping narrow the y/y storage gap. European stocks stood at 24.2 bcm on 1 May, down by 7.1 bcm y/y, compared to an 8.9 bcm gap at the start of April.
- Mild weather and high renewable generation cut gas demand across Belgium, the Netherlands and France in April, but the y/y underground storage gap in the region was little changed as strong LNG imports went towards replenishing low LNG stocks. French power sector gas demand fell to its lowest level since August 2015 as a big rise in hydro generation cut thermal generation. Dutch output fell by 0.9 bcm (29%) y/y to 2.2 bcm, owing to the tighter Groningen cap, but TTF prices at a premium to those at German hubs moved the Netherlands to make net German imports.
- Total UK consumption was 6.2 bcm last month, up by 0.4 bcm (7%) y/y because of higher LDZ demand. Higher continental imports and Norwegian takes helped offset lower UKCS deliveries and slower LNG sendout. Total Norwegian exports to Europe were down by 0.19 bcm (2%) y/y at 9.3 bcm, but receipts to the UK rose by 0.17 bcm (7%) y/y to 2.7 bcm as NBP prompt prices at a premium to continental equivalents helped the UK attract Norwegian supply.
- Net supply into Germany was up by a small 90 mcm (1%) y/y at 9 bcm. In an ongoing trend, a big rise in Russian supply (+1.2 bcm to 4.8 bcm, 33%) to Germany helped offset a 0.52 bcm (22%) fall in net Norwegian supply to 1.8 bcm. Germany made net exports of 0.22 bcm to the Netherlands, the first month it has not logged net Dutch imports since September 2016.
- Spanish aggregate demand rose by 0.25 bcm y/y to 2.32 bcm on higher non-power sector demand (+0.23 bcm y/y). Power sector gas demand was mildly higher (+20 mcm, 6%) as total power generation rose (+1.5 TWh, 8% y/y), but the rise was largely met with strong hydro generation (+2.8 TWh, 146% y/y). Pipeline imports from Algeria rose by 0.38 bcm y/y to 1.45 bcm, while piped imports from France fell by 0.14 bcm y/y. Despite higher port receipts, LNG sendout slowed by 0.12 bcm y/y to 0.90 bcm as cargoes were used to replenish LNG stocks by 0.14 bcm.
- Total Italian demand shrank by 1% to 4.67 bcm as a 0.26 bcm (15%) drop in power sector gas demand offset a 0.17 bcm (9%) rise in res-com consumption. Strong hydro and wind output curbed thermal generation. Transitgas pipeline flows from NW Europe into Italy were up by 0.98 bcm y/y to 4.12 bcm, helping offset lower LNG sendout and North African supply. Libyan flows into Italy halted on 2 April due to maintenance that is expected to shut the Bahr Essalam field until at least 5 May.
|European consumption and end-user supply, bcm|
|Source: Country SOs, GIE, Energy Aspects|