Europe's Reliance on LNG Means High Prices Needed All Year Round

Europe’s increased dependence on liquefied natural gas means high prices are needed all year round to ensure the region gets all the fuel it wants, Bank of America Corp. said.

“Europe is now over-reliant on LNG for its energy needs, and likely requires around 300 million cubic meters a day” in imports, BofA commodity strategist Francisco Blanch said in a note. “Prices must remain robust throughout the year or risk a rapid shift in the inventory trajectory.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year upended gas markets around the world, driving up prices and stoking concerns about security of supply. Europe is rushing to replace Russian piped gas with LNG, but must compete for cargoes with Asia, where nations are signing long-term deals to avoid future shortfalls.

Prices at the Title Transfer Facility — the European benchmark — have sunk almost 90% from last year’s high following a mild winter and a drop in demand. They’re now finding a floor, and need to exceed €35 a megawatt-hour to lure enough fuel to the continent, BofA said. Gas traded near €34 on Wednesday.

“Natural gas remains a key source of power generation, and Europe cannot afford to meet its energy needs if LNG imports were to plummet again as a result of low prices,” the bank said. “TTF price risk likely will remain concentrated in both winter and summer,” when stockpiles fall and rise.

(Bloomberg, Sep 06, 2023)

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