EU snapshot

Published at 12:08 5 Dec 2018 by

Milder weather y/y in most regions cut res-com demand and kept aggregate power demand soft last month, easing total gas demand across Europe. Gas into power also fell on higher French nuclear availability and strong continental hydro generation. Norwegian and UKCS supply remained weak, but y/y losses were offset by very strong LNG sendout, supported by a tight JKM-TTF basis that encouraged LNG spot cargoes to favour Europe over Asia. Weak demand and strong LNG supply has helped the region preserve stocks, which totalled at 80.5 bcm by 1 December, up by 1.4 bcm y/y, having begun the month with a 1.4 bcm y/y deficit.

Total UK consumption was 7.1 bcm last month, down by 0.7 bcm (8%) y/y, as mild weather, higher power imports from France, and an uptick in wind generation dented power sector gas demand. French power exports to the UK were 0.72 TWh in November, the highest for the month since 2014. UK gas-fired generation dropped by 2.1 TWh (19%) to 9.4 TWh. Pipeline receipts into UK terminals were weaker y/y but were nearly offset by a hefty 1 bcm y/y increase in LNG sendout.   

LNG sendout across Europe hit a record high of 7.6 bcm in November, with France and the Netherlands posting 0.9 bcm and 0.8 bcm y/y gains respectively. In France, a 7% y/y rise in nuclear generation helped cut gas into power by 80 mcm y/y (13%). French pipeline supply fell 1 bcm (24%) y/y, but a 0.9 bcm y/y rise in LNG sendout helped preserve French stocks, which were 2.4 bcm higher y/y by 1 December. Strong LNG sendout and slower gross exports also helped the Netherlands manage a 0.5 bcm drop in domestic output to 3.3 bcm. Germany logged lower gross imports y/y, but the country still managed to eliminate a y/y storage deficit by month’s end because of softer demand and slower gross exports.  

In Spain, high reservoir levels supported a 1.2 TWh (114% y/y) uptick in hydro generation, leading gas and coal burn to drop by a combined 2.1 TWh (23%) y/y. Total gas supply eased, with LNG sendout declining the most (by 0.3 bcm, 17% y/y) despite high LNG receipts to the rest of Europe. Pipeline imports from Algeria shrank by 0.2 bcm (11%) y/y, but the loss was offset by higher takes of French gas. The recent unification of the French gas market may have made French piped gas more attractive to Spanish buyers as the premium Peg Sud merged with the discounted Peg Nord.

Milder weather and strong hydro generation (+2.4 TWh, 116% y/y) led to a 1.1 bcm y/y (14%) cut in total Italian gas demand, with power sector gas demand down by 0.4 bcm y/y (15%). Total Italian pipeline imports fell y/y, with the exception of supplies from Libya. In contrast, LNG sendout rose by 0.6 bcm y/y (127%). Italian port receipts in November totalled 1.1 bcm—the highest since at least 2011 and 0.6 bcm higher y/y.

Fig 1:  European consumption and end-user supply, bcm

Note:     German demand determined via SO data, Fraunhofer data and Energy aspects analysis. A positive storage movement indicates storage injections. For some countries, supply and demand will not fully balance due to source data inconsistencies.

Source: Country SOs, GIE, Energy Aspects

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