MOSCOW. May 31 (Interfax) - Spot prices for gas in Europe rose slightly as the continent went back to work after the long weekend and wind power generation fell.
Gas Transport System Operator of Ukraine, or GTSOU, has accepted a booking from Gazprom today to transport 40.4 million cubic meters of gas through the country, compared with 40.7 mcm on Tuesday, data from GTSOU show.
Capacity was requested only through one of two entry points into Ukraine's Gas Transport System, the Sudzha metering station. A request was not accepted through the Sokhranovka metering station.
"Gazprom is supplying Russian gas for transit through the territory of Ukraine at the volume confirmed by the Ukraine side via the Sudzha metering station at 40.5 mcm on May 31, with booking via the Sokhranovka metering station declined," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters.
GTSOU has declared a force majeure with respect to acceptance of gas for transit through Sokhranovka, claiming that it cannot control the Novopskov compressor station. The route through Sokhranovka had provided transit of more than 30 mcm of gas per day. Gazprom believes that there are no grounds for the force majeure or obstacles to continuing operations as before.
Wind turbines generated 12.37% of Europe's electricity on Tuesday, down from 16.8% on Monday, according to WindEurope.
The spot price for gas in Europe rose 4% on Tuesday. The latest day-ahead contract at the Dutch TTF gas hub in the Netherlands closed at $289 per thousand cubic meters.
The spread between LNG prices in Asia and those in Europe is becoming more noticeable. In Asia, the most expensive futures contract for June on the JKM Platts index is $334 per thousand cubic meters, and futures under the LNG North-West Europe Marker are $264 per thousand cubic meters.
Current inventory levels in Europe's underground gas storage facilities are 68.37%, which is 18 percentage points above the average for the same date over the past five years, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe.
Inventories rose 0.33 percentage points during the May 29 gas day. Injection rates are still markedly less than the five-year average, but it will be possible to achieve the target level of 90% by the end of September if these rates are sustained throughout the summer.
Gazprom has nevertheless cautioned that "replenishing gas reserves in storage facilities could be a non-trivial task for European companies. This will be very difficult to do, given the politically motivated decisions aimed at refusing to import Russian pipeline gas. Competition for LNG will have a big effect on the volumes of gas available on the European market."
European LNG terminals operated at 67% capacity in April and 64% since the start of May. Routine shutdowns for maintenance at terminals has begun with the advent of the spring-summer season, and the European market is becoming less appealing due to falling prices.
The state of gas in UGS facilities in the United States is of increasing importance for the global market, as the country is actively increasing gas exports. Freeport LNG, the largest U.S. LNG plant, has restarted at three liquefaction trains, thereby reducing the gas surplus on the U.S. market and boosting LNG supply to the global market.
The U.S. gas injection season continues. Inventories increased 2.7 billion cubic meters for the latest reporting week, which is the norm for this time of year.
The current level of inventories is 49%, which is 17 percentage points above the five-year average, according to the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration.
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