MOSCOW. March 14 (Interfax) - European spot prices for gas fell 8% on Monday owing to strong winds and high electricity generation from wind turbines.
Wind farms provided one third of Europe's energy needs on Monday, which was the highest figure since January 15, and Denmark obtained all of its energy from wind at 113% of the requirement, while Germany's share of wind-power generation has reached 66%.
The Gas Transport System Operator of Ukraine, or GTSOU, has accepted a booking from Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) today to transport 42.4 million cubic meters of gas through the country, while bookings dipped to 40 mcm during the weekend, then the figure rose to 41.6 mcm on Monday, data from the 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 42.4 mcm on March 14, with booking via the Sokhranovka metering station declined," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters.
The 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.
The day-ahead contract for today at the Dutch TTF gas hub in the Netherlands closed at $546 per thousand cubic meters.
A split between LNG prices in Asia and those in Europe has noticeably returned. In Asia, the most expensive futures contract for April on the JKM Platts index is $509 per thousand cubic meters, and futures under the LNG North-West Europe Marker are $471 per thousand cubic meters.
Wind turbines provided 19% of the region's electricity needs last week, and the figure has jumped to 33.2% thus far this week, according to WindEurope.
Current inventory levels in Europe's underground gas storage (UGS) facilities have declined to 56.5%, which is 20 percentage points above the average for the same date over the past five years, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe.
Inventories contracted 0.15 percentage point during the gas day for March 12.
The relatively mild weather in October, November and January, in addition to the continent's austerity measures, have resulted in the level of inventories in UGS facilities being at an all-time high for this time of year since monitoring began, thereby underpinning the authorities' confidence in getting through the winter in good shape.
European LNG terminals operated at 63% capacity in February, and the figure has been 60% since the start of March, with the shutdown at French terminals because of the strike dragging down on the figure.
The state of gas in UGS facilities in the United States is of increasing importance for the global market, and the country is actively increasing gas exports, primarily to Europe.
Inventories decreased 2.4 billion cubic meters for the latest reporting week, which is markedly less than the usual offtake for this time of the year.
The current level of inventories is around 42%, which is 21 percentage points higher than the average figure for the past five years, according to the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration. The current level of inventories is close to the highest figure for the past five years.
Freeport LNG, the United States' largest LNG plant, has announced reopening all three liquefaction lines, thereby reducing the excess gas on the U.S. market and boosting supplies of LNG to the global market.
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